Nashville, Tenn. – A three-run, two-out double in the seventh inning was too much to overcome for No. 5 Vanderbilt in a 3-0 loss to No. 18 Kentucky on Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field.
The Commodores (28-8, 9-6) and Wildcats (23-12, 9-6) settled into a third pitcher’s duel of the weekend with both teams going scoreless through the first six innings. The Wildcats changed that in the seventh with Zach Reks leading off the inning with a single followed by a walk. A sacrifice bunt but two Cats in scoring position and ended the relief outing of John Kilichowski. Matt Ruppenthal then issued a five-pitch walk to the first batter he faced to load the bases with only one out. A strikeout gave the Dores a chance to get out of the inning but Troy Squires lined the first pitch he saw over Jeren Kendall’s head in right field to clear the bases and give UK a three-run lead.
Vanderbilt tried to rally in the ninth with two outs, loading the bases before Kendall grounded out to third to end the game.
Kilichowski took the loss allowing two runs on two hits over 2.1 innings out of the bullpen. Patrick Raby started his first career Southeastern Conference game, tossing four scoreless innings with five strikeouts. The freshman struck out the side in the second and used inning-ending double plays in the third and fourth innings as part of the Commodores’ season-high three double plays.
Vanderbilt was limited to five hits in the loss. Bryan Reynolds’ single in the sixth extended his hitting streak to six games. Kendall’s third inning double was the Dores only extra-base hit of the day and pushed his season total to a team-best 11.
Kentucky starter Kyle Cody was sharp over seven scoreless innings to earn the win. The right-hander struck out eight and scattered four hits before turning it over to the bullpen. Freshmen Justin Lewis and Sean Hjelle each turned in scoreless innings with Hjelle recording his sixth save.
Vanderbilt returns to action Tuesday afternoon at Hawkins Field against Central Arkansas at 5:30 p.m. on SEC Network+.