NASHVILLE — Jordan Sheffield turned in a complete-game shutout with a career-high 14 strikeouts, leading the fourth-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores to a 3-0 win over No. 9 Kentucky to open a three-game series, on Friday night at Charles Hawkins Field.
Kentucky (22-11, 8-5 Southeastern Conference) and the Commodores squared off in a Friday-night pitching duel, with UK starter Zack Brown (2-6) suffering the hard-luck loss in an entertaining series-opening game.
The Dores plated a run in the third on a two-out triple from Jeren Kendall and got a pair of runs in the seventh inning. Sheffield made the Vandy lead stand up, escaping jams in the fourth and seventh innings that saw the tying run advance to scoring position.
Sheffield (5-2) allowed only five hits – including two doubles to Evan White – in nine shutout innings. He walked two and struck out 14.
Brown worked 6.2 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, walking one and striking out six. With two outs in the seventh, freshman Justin Lewis took over in relief. A 6-foot-6 righty, Lewis worked the final 1.1 innings, stretching his shutout streak to 20.2 consecutive scoreless innings.
The series will resume on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET at Charles Hawkins Field.
Vanderbilt (27-7, 8-5 SEC) took the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Tyler Campbell led off the frame with a single, taking second on a sacrifice bunt and scoring on Kendall’s two-out double to deep centerfield.
UK had its best chance to get on the board in the fourth, as White led off with his second double of the night, but was stranded as Sheffield escaped a potential jam with three straight outs.
UK got Shelby to second base with one out in the seventh inning, but Sheffield responded with a lineout and strikeout to escape the threat.
Vanderbilt answered the UK mini-rally in the seventh, with Alonzo Jones doubling to open the inning, taking third on a sacrifice bunt. UK then pulled the infield with the Dores getting an RBI single from Connor Kaiser through the left side to score Jones. Kendall then turned on a 3-0 pitch from Brown, scoring Coleman and ending Brown’s outing.