NASHVILLE ---Kentucky hurlers James Paxton, Aaron Lovett and Andrew Albers combined to hold Vanderbilt's offense to eight hits in a 6-2 win Saturday afternoon in front of 2,945 fans at Hawkins Field.
UK improved to 32-11 overall and 10-10 in Southeastern Conference play, while VU dropped to 31-12 and 11-8 in league action.
"It was a tough game where we couldn't sustain any momentum," said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. "We had some opportunities and just weren't able to convert today."
The Wildcats scored three runs in the top of the third to take a 3-0 lead. Chris McClendon had a RBI single and Ryan Wilkes added a two-run triple off of VU starter Caleb Cotham.
UK added a run in the fourth on an infield RBI single by Collin Cowgill. The hit scored Chris Wade who doubled and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt earlier in the inning.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the fifth on RBI singles by Wade and Keenan Wiley to make it 6-0.
The Commodores got on the board in the bottom half of the fifth on Alex Feinberg's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. VU's chance for a big inning ended when Pedro Alvarez lined a shot to leftfield that was hit right at Keenan Wiley for the third out.
Vanderbilt added another run in the sixth when Ryan Flaherty walked, moved to second on a balk and scored on Shea Robin's RBI double to right-center.
The Commodores had another opportunity to cut into the lead in the seventh with runners at first and second and one out, but southpaw Andrew Albers came on in relief and got Alvarez to strike out and Flaherty to line out to first to end the inning.
Caleb Cotham (6-3) gave up six runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings with four strikeouts and two walks in the losing effort.
Aaron Lovett gave up a run on two hits in two innings of relief with two strikeouts and a walk to pick up the win to move to 3-1.
Richie Goodenow pitched 1.1 innings of two-hit relief with three strikeouts and two walks. Drew Hayes relieved him and pitched three scoreless innings with five strikeouts and a walk. Steven Schwartz came on with two outs in the ninth with a runner at third and walked a batter before striking out Chris McClendon to end the inning.
Shea Robin led the Commodores with three hits, while four Wildcats recorded two hits on the day.
The Commodores and Wildcats will play the rubber game of the three game set tomorrow afternoon at noon. Right-hander Nick Christiani (5-1, 3.97 ERA) will take the hill for VU, while UK is expected to counter with right-hander Greg Dombrowski (4-0, 3.23 ERA).