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Kentucky Drops Series Opener At Vanderbilt


UK Athletics

The BatCats had no answer for Vanderbilt’s pitching staff as they lost the series opener in Nashville by a score of 8-1. The loss dropped UK into a tie for ninth in the SEC heading into the final two games of the regular season.

VU starter Drake Fellows had the Cats’ number all night. UK hit four balls out of the infield against Fellows in tonight’s loss. The sophomore righty struck out six and induced 15 groundouts as he cruised to his sixth win of the season. The Dores hung four runs on UK starter Sean Hjelle before Pat DeMarco put the game out of reach with a two-run home run in the seventh.

The UK bullpen was without Zach Haake, Chris Machamer, and Carson Coleman tonight. Nick Mingione’s group needed a lengthy outing from Hjelle to keep their bullpen rested for the weekend. Vandy did their best to drive Hjelle’s pitch count up early. The Cats’ starter threw 20+ pitches in the first two innings. In the top of the first, the Commodores scored their first run of the game when Philip Clarke doubled home a run.

Vanderbilt would score their first crooked number of the game in the fifth against Hjelle. Clarke doubled in his second run of the game before Connor Kaiser and Stephen Scott drove in runs to break the game open. By jumping out to a 4-0 lead, Vandy was the eighth SEC team to score four or more runs against Hjelle in a game.

Hjelle would come back out in the sixth and empty the tank. The UK starter stranded two runners in the sixth to finish the day with a line of six innings, four runs, eight hits, three walks, and nine strikeouts. Brett Marshall entered in the seventh in relief. DeMarco greeted the Cats’ reliever with a two-run home run over the green monster in left. He didn’t need it, but the homer gave Fellows a six-run cushion.

Fellows was in complete control tonight. The Dores’ starter held UK scoreless in the first seven innings of tonight’s game, thanks in large part to UK bouncing into 16 groundball outs. UK would not put a run on the board until the top of the eighth. Ben Aklinski led the inning off with the Cats’ third hit of the night. Tristan Pompey continued his hot-hitting stretch with a two-out double to drive in Aklinski. The RBI double extended UK’s streak of not being shutout to 61 games.

The Cats’ bullpen has been depleted by injuries over the last week. Trailing 6-1, Mingione elected to save what was left of his bullpen and subbed outfielder Ryan Johnson in on the mound. The JUCO transfer threw hard, but could not control his pitches. Vandy hung two runs on the Cats’ newest pitcher in the eighth as they polished off an 8-1 win over UK.

UK will need a win tomorrow to force a rubber match on Saturday. Zack Thompson will try to silence the Commodores’ lineup and keep the Cats’ hosting chances alive.

 

Article written by Trey Huntsman

Keepin' fresh since '96. I couldn't play baseball, so I write about it to fill the void. Former Tampa Bay Rays Trackman and host of the KSR Baseball Podcast. Follow me on Twitter @TreyHuntsmanKSR.

5 responses to “Kentucky Drops Series Opener At Vanderbilt”

  1. TBW3011

    Disappointing season to date considering expectations coming in. It’s never really clicked for any extended period of time. Hopefully they find lighting in a bottle in the postseason. I doubt it though. Far to many games where the opposing pitcher shuts our water off.

    1. JPGott2

      Exactly. Big expectations for this season. The hitters have not turned out in the lineup, along w the top 3 pitchers being zero dominate.

      Come on cats!

  2. SuperTroy18

    What was dominant pitching last season has been so inconsistent this season. Hitting has been decent, but not out of this world either. SEC is brutal every year. Such a shame we couldn’t take that next step with all the talent on the roster. Let’s hope we can get it rolling in the Tourneys. Omaha or bust!

  3. Bull Filmer

    GO CATS!

  4. shepdog3720

    Considering all of the pitching injuries this year, I am surprised this team has done so well. Losing your stud 2nd day pitcher for at least 6 weeks right at the beginning of your conference season and still surviving, that is an accomplishment in and of itself. Lost a few they shouldn’t have and won a few that they shouldn’t have, but all in all it’s been a solid year, in my opinion. Now last night’s game is hopefully just an anomaly and not how the rest of the year will go….we will know soon enough.