The Vandy Boys came back strong this weekend as they faced University of Kentucky at home with a much-needed series victory. Sheffield returned to his typical Friday night position on the mound at home and the team looked comfortable again in their natural territory. This season hasn't come without its worries, but the Vandy boys always seem to reassure us right when we need it.
GAME ONE: Vanderbilt 3, Kentucky 0
Friday, April 15
Jordan Sheffield shut it down and Jeren Kendall showed up on Friday night to bring about the first victory in the series against the Wildcats. Sheffield got his first career complete-game shutout surrendering only five hits and striking out 14 batters in nine innings. Nine innings. Fourteen batters. Five hits. Two walks. Zero earned runs. Jordan Sheffield, have a day. Oh yeah, and I think the lineup did something, too. Jeren Kendall had two RBI on two hits, while Alonzo Jones and Connor Kaiser also had multiple hits on the night. Kaiser accounted for an RBI while the Vanderbilt Commodores scored one run in the third and two in the seventh to acquire all the runs they'd need for the shutout.
GAME TWO: Vanderbilt 3, Kentucky 2
Saturday, April 16
This was an exciting matchup between Kyle Wright and 'Cats starter Dustin Beggs. The first few innings were scoreless but not boring, as each team would garner some base-runners but each pitcher would pitch himself out of a jam. The Commodores scored first in the fifth but was answered by a run in the seventh, before the Wildcats took the lead in the eighth. The lead was short-lived, however, when the Commodores came back with two more in the bottom half of the eighth, and Ben Bowden came in to secure the win in the ninth. Kyle Wright allowed five hits over seven innings of work, allowing only one run which was unearned, while striking out six. Matt Ruppenthal pitched the eighth and allowed the Wildcats' second unearned run of the ballgame but the Commodores tallied for three total runs to get the series victory. Bryan Reynolds had two RBI while Jason Delay accounted for the third RBI. Nobody in the Commodore lineup got more than a single hit against Beggs and the Wildcat bullpen.
GAME THREE: Vanderbilt 0, Kentucky 3
Sunday, April 17
The Wildcats came out on top on Sunday with their only victory of the weekend to avoid the sweep. It appeared to be Vanderbilt's turn to be shut out while the Commodores struggled to get more than just five hits in the ballgame. Kentucky didn't score until the seventh inning, when they unfortunately scored all three of the runs they needed. Patrick Raby started the game going four strong innings, allowing only two hits before giving way to John Kilichowski. K-Chow pitched 2.1 innings allowing two runs on two hits, and then was replaced by Matt Ruppenthal to pitch the last two outs of the seventh and allow the last Kentucky run to cross the plate. Evan Steele and Ben Bowden kept Kentucky off the board for the final two innings of the game, but the Commodores lineup couldn't get anything going for support.
Pitcher of the Week: Jordan Sheffield
Of course. Duh. Who else? Sheffield received SEC and National pitcher of the week honors for college baseball. And is anyone surprised? A complete game, five-hit shutout striking out 14 batters on Friday night? Does that sound familiar to anyone? A little Carson Fulmer resemblance, or maybe even David Price? Sheffield has come a long way in his career at Vanderbilt, and the price is paying off for him. He seems to keep getting better and better. Even after some of his not-so-quality starts, he seems to bounce back better than before. Well, I guess we'll see how he can top this one.
Player of the Week: Jordan Sheffield
Just because, ok? I'm really, really impressed with him this weekend. He overshadowed Jeren Kendall who had two RBI on Friday night and Bryan Reynolds has gotten POTW so many times before and he only got two RBI on Saturday night. They both got a hit in all three games which is impressive. But I still want to take note of these freshman that are coming along quite nicely for Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt plays a home game Tuesday, April 19, against central Arkansas with an earlier start time of 5:30 pm. This weekend, they hit the road to Knoxville to take on in-state rival Tennessee. The weekend's series will start Friday, April 22, at 5 pm CT. Saturday's game will start at 3 pm CT, while Sunday's match-up will begin at 1 pm CT. All games can be viewed on SECN+.