UK never had a runner reach third base as Vanderbilt’s Jordan Sheffield struck out 14 batters in a 3-0 win. Sheffield threw a complete game and allowed only seven baserunners for the Dores. Zack Brown gave a great performance, but his offense was never there to back him up. Evan White had two of Kentucky’s five hits and both of their extra base hits. UK is now 22-11 and 8-5 in the SEC. Here are tonight’s takeaways.
Jordan Sheffield was as advertised
I have now seen Sheffield four times, and that was by far the best he’s ever looked. It might have the best performance of his career. Sheffield struck out a career-high 14 in the complete game shutout. The projected first round pick hit 97 early, and sat around 93-95 even when he was well over 100 pitches. I’m fairly sure that his changeup is unhittable. It was fun to watch, even as a UK writer. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat and do better tomorrow.
Kentucky’s approach at the plate was bad
Sheffield was nasty, but some of UK’s at-bats were rough. The Cats struggled with low breaking balls as Sheffield put several Cats on a knee. White’s doubles were really the only great contact that any UK batter made last night. Sheffield just had them tied up at the plate. Five players had two or more strikeouts.
Be thankful for Evan White
Not only did he collected doubles in his first two at-bats, White saved several errors by the UK infield. Becker and Mahan committed fielding errors, but the best defensive first baseman in the country saved some runs tonight.
ZB pitched well again
Much like last weekend, Brown was efficient on the mound. Brown allowed an RBI triple by All-American Jeren Kendall, but he struck him out twice. After three shutout innings, Brown allowed two runs in the seventh that would chase him from the game. Brown still looked better than his early season form, but Sheffield just outdueled him.
The series continues tomorrow as UK will attempt to win their fifth consecutive Saturday SEC game. Dustin Beggs (7-0) will take the mound against Vanderbilt’s Kyle Wright. As always, you can find the game online at SECN+.