Nashville, Tenn. - Vanderbilt edged No. 3 Kentucky Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field 4-3 to even the series and set up a rubber match tomorrow.
The Commodores (20-23, 8-12) scored a pair of runs in the second inning to claim an early lead. Spencer Navin broke up a scoreless game with his third round tripper of the season, a solo shot into the left-center field bleachers. Connor Harrell's two-out single set the table for Vince Conde to make it 2-0 with a double to right field. Harrell later tacked on a run in the fourth with a RBI-single to push the Dores' lead to three runs.
The Wildcats (36-8, 14-6) rallied back into the game in the eighth inning after Vandy starter Tyler Beede's day was over. Thomas McCarthy greeted VU reliever Will Clinard with a single through the right side to ignite a three-run rally. Luke Maile's single scored a run and J.T. Riddle's two-run single followed a double steal and tied the game. Vanderbilt answered the Cats' three-run eighth with a run in the bottom of the inning. Conrad Gregor singled with one out and came all the way around to score on Navin's triple down the right field line to put the Commodores back in front. Jared Miller and Drew VerHagen then pieced together a scoreless ninth inning to seal the win for the Dores.
Beede was outstanding for the Commodores over seven scoreless innings. The freshman scattered four hits, walked four and matched a career-best with eight strikeouts. Beede walked the first two batters of the game on eight pitches and went to a three-ball count against A.J. Reed before rebounding to strike out Reed and get Maile to bounce into an inning-ending double play. The right-hander cruised until the sixth inning not allowing a runner past second base. In the sixth the Wildcats loaded the bases before a ground ball ended the threat.
Will Clinard (5-2) earned the win for Vandy despite allowing three runs on three hits in his lone inning of work. VerHagen picked up his first save of the season; recording the final two outs of the day. Kentucky reliever Sam Mahar (3-3) was pinned with the loss allowing the winning run in the eighth. UK starter Jerad Grundy tossed 5.2 innings allowing three runs on five hits.
The Commodores and Wildcats will decide the series tomorrow with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Vanderbilt turns to lefty Kevin Ziomek (2-6) to face Kentucky left-hander Corey Litrell (6-0).