UK baseball: Mahan's two home runs not enough as Vanderbilt avoids sweep

Derek Terry, Beat Writer
Cats Illustrated
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — No. 16 Kentucky went into Sunday's game against Vanderbilt with an opportunity to sweep the Commodores for the first time since 2000. In fact, no Southeastern Conference team has swept Vanderbilt since 2012. Two late-inning home runs from Will Toffey and Julian Infante kept the Wildcats from sweeping Vanderbilt as the Commodores defeated Kentucky 6-4.

Riley Mahan hit two home runs and drove in four runs to lead Kentucky at the plate. Zach Pop was given the loss for Kentucky. He allowed a go-ahead two run home run to Toffey in the 7th inning.

THE BATS

Mahan was the main source of Kentucky's offense. The junior second baseman from Cincinnati, Ohio, hit two home runs and drove in four RBI for the Wildcats. In addition to three hits against Vanderbilt, Mahan now has 32 RBI on the season.

Hits were hard to come by for the Wildcats. Evan White, Troy Squires and Connor Heady each had hits prior to the 9th inning. Zach Reks singled with one out in the 9th to bring up the tying run, but Matt Ruppenthal retired Luke Becker and Mahan to end the game.

Kentucky missed a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth. White came to the plate with bases loaded and two outs but lined out to right field to end the inning. The Wildcats were 1 for 5 on the day with runners in scoring position.

ON THE MOUND

Justin Lewis didn't have his sharpest stuff on Sunday, but he battled enough to keep the Wildcats in the game. He allowed two runs over five innings. He left the game in the sixth after a walk and two hits. Lewis finished the game with two earned runs after Zach Pop recorded three straight outs, including back-to-back strikeouts.

Pop allowed a two-run home run to Will Toffey in the top of the 7th inning and then another run was charged to him after a fielders choice while Logan Salow was on the mound.

Salow pitched a clean 8th inning but allowed a lead off home run to Julian Infante in the ninth. It was the first earned run he allowed in 21 innings this season and the first hit allowed in 10 innings.

SCORING

Top 1: Jeren Kendall led off the game with a walk and stole second. Julian Infante hit a hard liner off Lewis' glove for an infield single. Will Toffey singled to center field to score Kendall. Vanderbilt 1, UK 0.

Bottom 1: With two outs in the bottom of the frame, second baseman Riley Mahan doubled down the right field line to score Evan White. Vanderbilt 1, UK 1.

Bottom 4: Mahan led off the inning with a no-doubt home run to right field. UK 2, Vanderbilt 1.

Top 6: After a walk and a single, Alonzo Jones singled through the right side to tie the game. Zach Pop came in for Kentucky and picked off Jones on first, then struck out Kendall and Stephen Scott to end the threat. UK 2, Vanderbilt 2.

Top 7: Will Toffey hit a two-run home run off Pop to put the Commodores back in front. He walked Reed Hayes, leading to a pitching change. Logan Salow walked the first batter he faced and Hayes stole third during the at-bat. The Commodores added a run on a fielders choice by Harrison Ray. Vanderbilt 5, UK 2.

Bottom 7: Mahan's second home run of the day was hammered way out of the ballpark and cut the deficit to one. Vanderbilt 5, UK 4.

Top 9: Infante hit a leadoff home run in the top of the ninth. Vanderbilt 6, UK 4.

UP NEXT

Kentucky (21-8) travels to No. 2 Louisville on Tuesday.

Vanderbilt (18-11) hosts Tennessee Martin.

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