NASHVILLE ---Pedro Alvarez' RBI double with two outs in the eighth inning lifted Vanderbilt to a 3-2 win over Kentucky in front of a season high 2,545 at Hawkins Field Friday night.
The Commodores improved to 31-11 overall and 11-7 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Wildcats fell to 31-11 and 9-10 in league action.
"These kind of games are tough wins," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "I said going into this series it was going to be a boxing match and so far it has been. I like playing Kentucky and I think they like playing us. They are a very competitive and they just come after you. I enjoy playing teams like that."
Alex Feinberg singled with two outs in the eighth off of Kentucky starter Chris Rusin and then Alvarez took the first pitch offering off the wall in right-center to plate the winning run.
"He (Rusin) threw me a curveball my first three at-bats and so I was expecting it and was fortunate enough to hit it," said Alvarez.
The game was a scoreless pitcher's duel until the bottom of the sixth when Brian Harris took a first pitch offering from Rusin and belted a solo homer to left to give the Commodores a 1-0 lead. It was just the second hit of the game for VU as Dominic de la Osa's double in the fifth broke up the no-hitter.
The Wildcats tied the game in the seventh when Mike Minor walked the first two batters before an errant throw on a sacrifice bunt allowed an unearned run to score.
Shea Robin's two-out RBI double in the bottom half put the Commodores back on top 2-1.
UK rallied right back in the top of the eighth scoring on a RBI groundout by Brian Spear. Collin Cowgill walked with one out off of Chase Reid and then moved to third on Sawyer Carroll's single to right. Spear then hit a slow roller to second where the only out was to get him at first.
Mike Minor gave up just one unearned run on five hits in six innings with nine strikeouts and two walks.
"Mike pitched very well," said Corbin. "We had the one hiccup in the seventh inning, but I thought he did very well against a strong Kentucky lineup."
Chase Reid came into the game with the runners at the corners with no outs in the seventh and the go ahead run at third. He struck out pinch hitter Tyler Howe and then got Bryan Rose to ground into a double play to end the inning.
Russell Brewer pitched the final 1.2 innings with a walk and a strikeout to pick up the win to move to 3-0 on the year.
Chris Rusin (4-2) was the tough luck loser as he went the distance, allowing three runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and no walks.
The Commodores and Wildcats will play the second game of the three game set tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. Right-hander Caleb Cotham (6-2, 3.06 ERA) will take the hill for VU, while UK is expected to counter with left-hander James Paxton (3-2, 3.48 ERA)