UK Baseball

Vandy unloads on Cats in wake of rare shutout

Conrad Gregor and Tony Kemp combined for seven hits, six RBI and four runs Saturday as top-ranked Vanderbilt manhandled Kentucky 10-3 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Vandy (39-6) thus regained a share of the Eastern Division lead in the Southeastern Conference. Defending national champion South Carolina lost 10-2 to Ole Miss, leaving Vandy and Carolina each with 18-5 records in SEC play.

After Alex Meyer handed the Commodores their first shutout in 75 games Friday night, 2-0, Vandy came out with bats blazing Saturday.

Grayson Garvin kept UK in check, throwing eight innings of one-run, six-hit ball.

Gregor finished 3-for-4, with four RBI and two runs.

Kemp went 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs.

Vandy outhit the Wildcats 15-7.

"We really wanted to bounce back after the tough game (Friday) night and just give it our all," said Gregor, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound freshman DH. "I think it started from the first pitch with Tony's bunt over the pitcher and, from there, we just kept the ball rolling."

Vandy sent 11 batters to the plate during a six-run first inning, highlighted by Gregor's grand slam.

Before the big bang came some little bings.

Kemp popped a bunt over pitcher Corey Littrell (5-5) for an infield single.

Anthony Gomez followed with a swinging bunt that trickled down the third-base line for a single.

One out later, both runners scored on Jason Esposito's double down the left-field line. The hit extended Esposito's hitting streak to 26 games.

Back-to-back walks filled the bags for Gregor, who unloaded his third homer of the season.

"The game sped up for Corey, I thought pretty obviously," UK Coach Gary Henderson said. "The first three hits were not hit hard, and you can survive those hits. What you can't survive are the two walks behind them. And then, obviously, the home run changes the complete complexion of the game when you're facing somebody as good as Garvin."

Garvin (10-1) befuddled the Wildcats, spreading six hits over eight innings.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound junior left-hander, a 45th-round draft pick of the Houston Astros in 2008, improved to 8-0 in SEC games and 5-0 on the road.

Chad Wright broke up the shutout, knocking a one-out solo home run to right field in the sixth inning. His fifth homer of the season extended his hitting streak to nine games. He has reached safely in 23 consecutive games.

He finished with three of UK's seven hits.

Vandy scored a run each in the third and sixth innings, and added two runs in the seventh.

UK, helped by four Jack Armstrong walks, scored twice in the ninth.

The deciding game in the three-game series is set for 1 p.m. Sunday. UK will pit Jordan Cooper against Vandy's Taylor Hill.