Vanderbilt wins series with Kentucky on Jeren Kendall homer in 8th
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Vanderbilt rallied for four runs in the final two innings against Kentucky to claim the series with a 7-3 win Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The No. 7 Commodores (35-14, 17-7) battled back from an early deficit to tie the game in the third and took a 3-3 game into the top of the eighth inning. Freshman Will Toffey singled to open the inning and stole second in front of fellow freshman Jeren Kendall. Kendall then crushed the next pitch over the right field wall for his third hit of the afternoon to put Vandy in front for good. The homer was Kendall's fourth of the season and second of the game for the Commodores. Toffey came through again in the ninth with a two-out, two-run single down the right field line to pad the Dores' lead to 7-3.
The Wildcats (26-20, 11-12) took an early lead on a JaVon Shelby three-run homer to left field off VU starter Walker Buehler. Buehler bounced back, however, to get out of the first with nothing else across and turn in five scoreless innings to get the Commodores through six innings. The Cats put the tying runs aboard in the eighth inning but freshman Kyle Wright entered and struck out the only batter he faced before giving way to Ben Bowden. The lefty got pinch hitter Zach Arnold to bounce out to Toffey at third to end the inning. Bowden then worked a quick 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish off Vanderbilt's ninth series win and record his second save of the season.
Toffey and Kendall combined for five hits and three RBI to lead the Commodores as the team pounded out 12 hits in the win. Juniors Rhett Wiseman, Dansby Swanson and Zander Wiel each had two hits. Wiel blasted his 10th homer of the season with a solo shot to left in the third inning after knocking in the Dores' first run of the day with an RBI double in the first.
Jordan Sheffield picked up the victory out of the bullpen with 1.1 innings, striking out three. Buehler allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings of a no decision.
Zach Strecker took the loss, giving up Kendall's two-run homer in the eighth. Kentucky starter Kyle Cody allowed three runs on six hits in 5.2 innings.