Cats avoid sweep to Vandy, win 3-0 in series finale


Sophomore pitcher Kyle Cody pitches during the game between the University of Kentucky baseball team vs. Eastern Michigan University in Lexington , Ky.,on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff 

Chris Angolia

No. 18 UK baseball snapped its four-game losing streak Sunday by defeating No. 5 Vanderbilt with a final score of 3-0. The win allowed UK to avoid a sweep in the three-game series.

Both starting pitchers brought their A-games, keeping the game scoreless through six innings. Vanderbilt starter Patrick Raby fired four innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits while striking out five before being replaced in the fifth.

UK starter Kyle Cody continued to thrive, dominating the Commodores by throwing seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out eight Commodores.

In his last two starts and over 14.1 innings of work, Cody has allowed just eight hits, adding 11 strikeouts with a 0.64 ERA. After a rough start to the year, Cody’s ERA is now down to 4.20.

The first six innings of the game saw both teams struggle to score, but thanks to Troy Squires’ timely hitting, the Cats finally broke through in the seventh.

Both Zach Reks and JaVon Shelby then reached base to lead off the inning and advanced on a sac-bunt by Luke Becker. Then Tristan Pompey was walked to load the bases with one out in the inning. Following a strikeout by Riley Mahan, Squires stepped in and roped the first pitch to right field for a bases-clearing double, giving the Cats a 3-0 lead.

When UK grabbed the lead in the top of the seventh, Cody came out in the bottom half of the inning with the lead and continued his dominant performance with a quick 1-2-3 inning, capping off a tremendous performance for the senior as he would be replaced in the eighth by Justin Lewis.

Lewis continued his strong play, firing a scoreless eighth dropping his ERA to 0.37 this year over 24.1 innings pitched with 20 strikeouts.

In the ninth, Sean Hjelle came in to go for his sixth save of the year. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Hjelle worked himself into a bit of a jam.

After a single, a hit by pitch and a walk, the Commodores had the bases loaded with two outs. Preseason All-American Jeren Kendall, a major threat with 6 homers and 39 RBI, stepped in as the winning run. Despite the threat, Hjelle remained calm and got Kendall to ground out, ending the game and capping off a 3-0 UK victory.

UK will now turn its attention to its upcoming matchup at Louisville on Tuesday night. The Cats dropped this past week’s matchup with the Cards after its comeback fell short, losing by a final score of 9-6. First pitch between No. 18 UK (23-12) and No. 9 Louisville (29-7) is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville.