NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt rallied for five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday afternoon to top third-ranked Kentucky 6-1 and clinch the series at Hawkins Field.
The Wildcats (36-9, 9-12) rallied for a run in the top of the eighth inning to tie the game just like yesterday when the Cats scored three in the eighth to draw even. But just like yesterday, the Commodores (21-23) answered in the bottom of the frame with the winning run. The inning started with a leadoff single from Mike Yastrzemski and was followed by walks to Anthony Gomez and Conrad Gregor. With the bases loaded and no outs, Spencer Navin was hit by a Trevor Gott pitch to force in a run and put the Commodores up 2-1. Connor Harrell then blasted a grand slam over the left field wall to cap the rally and push the Dores' lead to 6-1. The home run was the first hit allowed in SEC play by the Wildcat's closer Gott. Sam Selman struck out the side in the Kentucky ninth to finish the game and earn the win.
Vanderbilt scratched out a run in the third inning with two outs when Mike Yastrzemski doubled to knock in Vince Conde, who led off the inning with a single. That lone run stood until the eighth when the Wildcats put a run on the board. With runners on first and third, J.T. Riddle grounded into what looked to be an inning-ending double play but beat the throw to first to score Luke Maile from third.
Yastrzemski led the way for the Commodores going 3-for-4 with Gregor adding two hits. Harrell's grand slam was the first by a Commodore since Aaron Westlake's last May against Florida. Over his last six games Harrell is 9-for-25 (.360) with five extra-base hits and 10 RBI. Maile led UK with two of the team's five hits. The series loss is the first of the season for the Wildcats.
Selman (6-3) picked up the win in his first relief outing since March 17 at Florida. The lefty fanned four and gave up one run on one hit over 2.1 innings for his team-best sixth win. Kentucky reliever Alex Phillips (5-2) took the loss allowing two runs and recording only one out. Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek was strong over 5.2 scoreless innings scattering three hits and striking out eight. Cats' starter Corey Littrell allowed one run on six hits over 5.1 innings.
The Commodores return to action at Tennessee next weekend.