No. 5 Vanderbilt Rallies in Ninth to Walk-Off No. 15 Kentucky
NASHVILLE – No. 5 Vanderbilt scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, including a walk-off line drive to left field by Alan Espinal, to rally for a 3-2 victory over No. 15 Kentucky on Sunday at Hawkins Field, completing the three-game sweep.
The Wildcats fell to 30-13 overall and 11-10 in Southeastern Conference play.
UK led 2-1 going into the ninth but couldn’t close the door. A leadoff single past a diving Grant Smith and fake-bunt, slash play double put runners on second and third. A line drive off the hip of pitcher Ryan Hagenow scored the tying run and forced him out of the game before Espinal’s winner.
The Cats missed several late opportunities to give themselves some breathing room. The Cats had runners stranded at third base in both the seventh and ninth innings, as well as a runner thrown out at home. Vanderbilt left fielder Matthew Polk made a diving catch to end the ninth that robbed a pair of runs that would have given the Cats a three-run cushion.
- UK Coach Nick Mingione is in his seventh season at the helm and now owns a 206-142 career record.
- UK is 49-54 in the month of April under Coach Mingione.
- Mingione now is 5-14 vs. Vanderbilt.
- UK is 6-7 this season vs. ranked opponents.
- UK has scored in 341 of 348 games in Mingione’s tenure.
- Outfielder Jackson Gray went 0-for-2 with a run, a walk and two hit by pitch.
- He has reached base safely in 27 of 37 plate appearances.
- He was hit by a pair of pitches and now has been hit 19 times this season.
- That’s ranks 7th on the UK single-season list.
- Infielder Jase Felker went 3-for-4 with an RBI.
Kentucky has the week off before returning to SEC play on Friday night vs. South Carolina at 6:30 p.m. ET. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network (630 AM WLAP, locally) and it will be streamed on the SEC Network+.