Cats Edge Commodores 3-1

Sawyer Carroll’s two out, two-run triple in the top of the fifth inning broke a 1-1 tie, giving the No. 17 Kentucky baseball team series-securing 3-1 win over the 10th-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores, in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon in front of 2,127 fans at Charles Hawkins Field.

Kentucky (33-11, 11-10 Southeastern Conference) notched its second consecutive series win over a top-25 foe, as last week, UK claimed a series win over then-No. 24 ranked Florida at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Carroll’s two-RBI triple – his second three-bagger of the season – provided the difference for the Wildcats, who got a stellar pitching performance from senior starter Greg Dombrowski. Dombrowski (5-0) twirled 7 1/3 innings, allowing just one run and 11 hits. Andrew Albers got the save in the second consecutive game for UK, going 1 2/3 innings without allowing a baserunner and striking out two.

Vanderbilt (31-13, 11-9 SEC) entered the series winners in 11 of its previous 13 games, claiming every home SEC series of the year (Arkansas, Auburn and South Carolina).

The two teams sat through a 1 hour and 58 minute rain delay after three innings, with both starters returning after the delay. Vandy starter Nick Christiani (5-2) hurled his first career complete game, taking the hard luck loss, working nine innings, allowing just six hits, three runs – two earned – striking out five and walking two.

Brian Spear got the only multi-hit game for the Wildcats, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Carroll, Bryan Rose, Collin Cowgill and Chris McClendon each tallied hits for UK. Sophomore Keenan Wiley had his team-best hit streak snapped at 15 games.

The Wildcats took the lead for good in the fifth inning, getting two runs on three hits to take a 3-1 lead. Rose reached on a 3-1, two-out single through the right-side to give UK its first runner of the inning. Cowgill ripped a hard single to Ryan Flaherty at shortstop, who attempted to make a throw at first but his throw sailed past Andrew Giobbi at first, allowing Rose to run to third. Carroll came up with a clutch triple – his second of the year – bouncing off the wall in right-field, scoring Rose and Cowgill to give UK a lead.

Kentucky returns to action with a mid-week showdown with Marshall, on Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. ET.

Vanderbilt got on the board in the first inning, as the Commodores got four infield hits to take a 1-0 lead. After leadoff man David Macias led off with a single through the right side, Alex Feinberg hit into a fielders choice, with Macias out at second on the play. All-American Pedro Alvarez ripped a seeing-eye single through the right-side and Ryan Flaherty followed with a seeing eye single of his own, also through the right side to load the bags. Dominic de la Osa scored Feinberg, hitting a grounder to UK’s shortstop Chris Wade, who fielded the ball but did not have a play. Greg Dombrowski got out of the bases-loaded jam, getting Giobbi to line out and getting Shea Robin to strikeout swinging.

Kentucky answered with a run of its own in the second inning, taking advantage of two Vandy miscues to tie the game 1-1. Brian Spear roped a one-out single into right-centerfield and Vandy’s right-fielder de la Osa attempted to throw to first, with Spear taking a marginal turn at first. de la Osa’s throw hit Spear in the batting helmet, bouncing into the UK dugout, allowing Spear to move to third. Wade followed, hitting a grounder at Alvarez at third, who attempted to get Spear at the plate. Alavarez’s throw was high, allowing Spear to score and Wade to scamper to second.

Alvarez led the Commodores with a 3-for-4 day at the dish, with Macias, de la Osa and Steven Liddle each contributing two hits apiece.