LEXINGTON, Ky. - Connor Harrell and Zander Wiel connected on fourth-inning home runs to erase an early Kentucky lead and lift No. 1 Vanderbilt to an 11-2 series-opening win over the Wildcats, on Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (28-20, 10-15 Southeastern Conference) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on the strength of Max Kuhn’s fourth homer of the year. The Dores then used homers from Connor Harrell and Zander Wiel to take a 3-1 lead in the fourth, before busting the game open with seven runs on seven hits in the fifth.
UK starter A.J. Reed (2-7) had the rockiest start of his decorated two-year career, working five innings, allowing 12 hits and 10 runs, not issuing a walk and striking out one. Freshman Dylan Dwyer finished the game for the Wildcats, throwing four innings, surrendering one run on three hits while striking out one and walking one in the longest outing of his career.
The Wildcats totaled 12 hits in the game, marking the most hits allowed by the dynamic Vanderbilt pitching staff since April 16 vs. Tennessee Tech. It marked the most hits allowed by Vanderbilt in SEC play since surrendering 16 vs. Tennessee on March 31.
Kentucky received multi-hit games from Kyle Barrett, Austin Cousino, J.T. Riddle and Kuhn, with Riddle notching a team-high three hits and scoring one run. Barrett and Reida contributed RBI singles and Kuhn notched an RBI on his solo homer in the second. Fettes recorded his fifth double of the year in the ninth and eventually came around to score UK’s third run.
Vanderbilt (43-6, 22-2 SEC) starter Kevin Ziomek (10-2) worked six innings, allowing two runs – one earned – walking three and striking out four. Ziomek allowed seven UK hits, the second-most hits allowed in a start for the ace lefty in 2013. Freshman Walker Buehler, a native of Lexington, Ky., recorded a three-inning save, allowing one run on five hits, striking out two and walking one.
Connor Harrell led the Commodores offensively, knocking his ninth and 10th home runs of the year, while tallying three RBI. Wiel contributed two hits, driving in three runs and scoring two runs. Tony Kemp added three hits in the lead-off spot, scoring one run in the process.
The series will resume on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be televised live on CSS and ESPN3.com. The game will also be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, available on WLAP 630-AM in Lexington, WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville and online at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Kuhn knocked a solo homer over the left-centerfield wall.
Vanderbilt took the lead in the fourth with three runs on two homers. With one out, Mike Yastrzemski reached on a hit by pitch and Harrell brought him home with a two-run homer just over the right-centerfield wall. Wiel extended the lead an out later with a solo shot over the leftfield wall.
The Commodores plated seven runs in the fifth on seven hits. Jack Lupo and Kemp notched consecutive one-out singles to put runners on first and second. Back-to-back doubles from Xavier Turner and Yastrzemski scored Lupo and Kemp, with Vandy still nursing two runners in scoring position. After a hit by pitch, a ground out to first brought Turner home for the third run of the inning and with runners on second and third, Wiel delivered a two-RBI single. Vince Conde singled into left-centerfield with two outs and Vandy’s scoring was capped after a two-run single into right-centerfield from Spencer Navin that scored Wiel and Conde.
Kentucky scored one run in the bottom of the sixth after loading the bases with no outs. Following a strikeout, a sacrifice fly into centerfield from Barrett enabled Riddle to tag and score from third.
Harrell led off the top of the seventh for Vanderbilt with a solo home run to centerfield, his second homer of the afternoon.
The Wildcats added a run in the bottom of the ninth to finish the game at 11-3. Fettes led off the inning with a double into the right-centerfield gap. A Cousino walk and single from Riddle loaded the bases with no outs. UK converted on one run from the opportunity, as Reida singled through the left side to score Fettes.