First Things First: Leadoff Homer, First Inning Deficit Doom Cats
Enrique Bradfield Jr. homered on the first pitch of the game and later rose over the outfield wall to steal a potential three-run home run from Jacob Plastiak to secure a 5-3 series-deciding victory for No. 5 Vanderbilt over Kentucky on a sun-splashed Sunday at Kentucky Proud Park.
Kentucky (22-18, 6-12 SEC) now has lost four consecutive Southeastern Conference series rubber games.
Ryan Ritter had three hits, including two doubles, and Plastiak earlier in the game hit his 10th home run of the season but the Wildcats couldn’t crawl out of a 5-0 deficit. Vanderbilt’s first six batters of the game reached safely as the Commodores set the tone with three first-inning runs.
Seeking his second home run of the game, Plastiak launched a fly ball to left-centerfield in the sixth inning that Bradfield tracked before leaping above the wall to catch and deny the Cats of a home run that would have drawn them within 5-4. It was the third time in four games an opponent has brought a potential home run back against the Cats.
In the series, Vanderbilt’s electric centerfielder had four hits and four stolen bases. He also touch up UK starter Seth Logue by ambushing his first pitch of Sunday’s game.
- UK has scored in 282 of 286 games in coach Nick Mingione’s tenure.
- UK is 47-of-52 on stolen base attempts this season.
- The UK pitchers have struck out 416 in 40 games.
Senior RHP Sean Harney pitched 6.0 innings, allowing two runs on six hits.
- The six innings are a UK career high.
- Senior IF Jacob Plastiak
- He hit his 10th home run of the season.
- He had his 13th multi-hit game of the season and 16th career.
Junior IF Ryan Ritter went 3-for-3 with a run, RBI and pair of doubles..
- He now has 13 multi-hit games this season and 26 in his career.
- It’s his fifth career three-hit effort.
Kentucky will host Dayton on Tuesday night. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. ET on SECN+. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.