Commodores rally to take series

March 30, 2014

Box Score |  Russell's Photos 

Norwood Video | Corbin Video

Nashville, Tenn. - No. 7 Vanderbilt battled back from an early deficit to beat No. 19 Kentucky 6-2 Sunday at Hawkins Field and clinch the series.

The Wildcats (19-9, 4-5) struck first with a run in the third inning off Commodores (23-6, 5-4) starter Tyler Ferguson. JaVon Shelby singled and worked his way around to third base before scoring on a failed pickoff attempt by Ferguson at third, but the big right-hander limited the damage to only one run.

Vanderbilt struggled through the first four innings with only Xavier Turner's first inning single showing up in the hit column. Jason Delay recorded VU's second hit of the game with a one-out single in the fifth inning in front of John Norwood. The junior came up big, turning on the first pitch he saw and sending his first home run of the season into the left-center field bleachers for a two-run homer to put Vandy on top for the first time. Vince Conde added a RBI-single in the sixth to push the lead to two runs, in what turned out to be an important run.

Kentucky chased Ferguson in the seventh when Michael Thomas singled and moved to second on Ferguson's second error of the game on a failed pickoff. Ka'ai Tom immediately made Ferguson pay with a run-scoring single to right field to trim the VU lead to a single run. With one on and nobody out, Adam Ravenelle was summoned from the pen. The junior made a quick impact on the game, fielding a bunt and firing to second base for the first out of the inning before getting a double play to end the frame and the Kentucky threat.

Ravenelle found himself in trouble in the eighth, however, after a pair of singles had Wildcats on the corners with two outs. Carson Fulmer came in to face Kentucky's A.J. Reed, who leads the Wildcats and the Southeastern Conference with nine home runs. Fulmer needed just three pitches to punch out Reed to end the inning.

The Commodores put the game away in the bottom half of the inning with three runs on three hits. Dansby Swanson started the rally with a leadoff, infield single and was followed by a Bryan Reynolds single on a slash play to put runners on the corners. Conde delivered the first insurance run with a bloop single to left field. The Kentucky defense committed their first error of the game when Zander Wiel dropped down a sacrifice bunt to third baseman Max Kuhn, who threw low to first base. The errant throw bounced into right field and allowed Reynolds and Conde to score on the play with Wiel ending up at third.

Back out for the ninth, Fulmer closed down his eighth save of the season and notched the Commodores' 16th straight win on Sunday's in league play. Ferguson picked up the win with six-plus innings of work allowing two runs, one earned, on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Kentucky starter Andrew Nelson was pinned with the loss after giving up three runs on five hits over 5.2 innings.

The Vandy offense cranked out nine hits in the win to bring the tally to 25 in the team's last two games. Turner, Swanson and Conde all recorded two-hit games with Conde driving in two runs. Turner extended his hitting streak to 16 games and Swanson has now reached base in all 29 games and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

The Commodores return to action Tuesday night at Hawkins Field when UT-Martin visits. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.



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