First Inning, Miller Lift No. 5 Vandy to Series-Evening Win
March 29, 2014
NASHVILLE -- Fifth-ranked Vanderbilt used three first-inning runs and a strong pitching performance from standout Jared Miller to post a 9-3 series-evening win over No. 17 Kentucky, on a rainy, cold Saturday afternoon at Charles Hawkins Field.
Kentucky (19-8, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) fell behind in a three-run hole in the bottom of the first inning, before allowing two runs in the bottom of the third inning for a five-run deficit. The Dores then used a strong start from Miller, who took a no hitter into the fifth inning, before the Wildcats struck for three runs in the frame. Vanderbilt got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth inning and an unearned run in the seventh for the final margin.
The loss sets up a rubber match on Sunday in Nashville, with UK looking to win its first series at Vanderbilt since 2008.
UK starter Chandler Shepherd (5-1) suffered his first career SEC loss and the first loss of his dynamic 2014 season. A native of Louisa, Ky., Shepherd allowed career highs in hits (11) and runs (seven) in six innings, walking two and striking out three. Shepherd dropped to 13-2 in his decorated three-year career, including a 6-1 record in SEC action.
UK sophomore righty Zach Strecker took over in the bottom of the seventh inning, allowing two hits and two runs - one earned - getting a strikeout. Matt Snyder came on in the bottom of the seventh inning, getting two outs and allowing a single. Right-hander Taylor Martin came on to pitch the bottom of the eighth, allowing two hits around a pair of outs. Ryne Combs got the final out of the game for the Wildcats.
Miller (6-1) worked six strong innings, allowing three hits and three runs - one earned - walking three and striking out four. Vanderbilt turned to flame-throwing closer Carson Fulmer, who worked two innings, allowing one hit, walking one and striking out one. VU record-setting reliever Brian Miller took over to work the ninth inning.
The series will conclude on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET at Charles Hawkins Field. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel voicing the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WWTF 1580-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com. The game will also be televised live on ESPNU with Adam Amin and Chris Burke calling the action.
Vanderbilt (22-6, 4-4 SEC) got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, as Xavier Turner doubled down the leftfield line with one out. Dansby Swanson then appeared to foul a ball into the football stadium, with the ball unexpectedly hooking inside the foul pole for a two-run homer. Bryan Reynolds then followed with a double down the leftfield line, taking third on a wild pitch from Shepherd and scoring on a sacrifice fly from Vince Conde.
The Dores added two runs in the third inning, as Turner led off with a walk and Swanson pelted a double off the top of the 40-foot wall in leftfield, just missing his second homer. After a RBI groundout from Reynolds forced home one run, Conde singled home Swanson with a single to centerfield.
The Wildcats got on the board and broke open the no hitter in the top of the fifth inning, as Bernal and Reida were plunked by pitches to lead off. After a fielder's choice from Shelby replaced Reida at first and moved Bernal to third, Barrett chopped a fielder's choice to score UK's first run. Cousino then laid down a perfect bunt single, with the throw from Miller sailing down the rightfield line to allow Barrett and Cousino to move to scoring position. With Kuhn at the plate, Barrett scored on a wild pitch, with Kuhn then launching a 2-2 offering into centerfield for a two-out RBI single to score Cousino.
The Dores immediately responded in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Swanson took advantage of a UK defensive shift up the middle, singling through the right side. Reynolds then lofted a liner into shallow centerfield, with UK second baseman JaVon Shelby making a fully extended, diving catch, but his collision with the turf allowing the ball to pop out and roll behind Shelby, with Swanson taking third. After Shepherd got a strikeout for the first out, Reida, Shelby and Bernal combined on a great double play to end the inning.
Vanderbilt got a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Rhett Wiseman smashed a triple down the rightfield line to leadoff, scoring on Karl Ellison's RBI single. After a sacrifice bunt and a fly out, Turner singled through the right side, scoring pinch runner Will Cooper from second base.
The Dores got a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, as a two-base throwing error put Swanson to second base, with a wild pitch moving him to third base. Reynolds then followed with a single through the drawn-in infield to score Swanson. Conde followed with a single to rightfield to move Reynolds to third, with Conde taking second on a wild pitch. After Strecker got a strikeout, UK turned to Snyder in relief, who allowed a single to Wiseman to score Reynolds.