Kentucky Hands USC Its 5th Straight SEC Series Loss, 9-4

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) – Logan Salow pitched 4.2 scoreless innings of relief and sixth ranked Kentucky broke a 4-4 tie with three runs in the eighth inning and two more in the ninth to defeat 21st ranked South Carolina 9-4 on Sunday afternoon at Founders Park. Kentucky is 31-14 and 14-7 in the SEC with Carolina dropping to 25-17 and 10-11 in league play.

Carolina rallied from a three-run deficit in the fifth inning to tie the game as John Jones belted a two-run homer with Carlos Cortes then tying the game on a RBI double. Tied at 4-4 entering the eighth inning, Kentucky looked to swing the momentum in their dugout on a one-out walk to Riley Mahan.  Mahan would get into scoring position as he stole second base on Tyler Johnson’s strikeout of Tory Squires.  With two outs and a 1-0 count, Tyler Marshall knocked a RBI single to left field to give the Wildcats a one-run lead. After loading the bases, a pair of unearned runs would give Kentucky a three-run lead then as a grounder off the bat of Tristan Pompey would get past Gamecock second baseman LT Tolbert to score Marshall and Marcus Carson.  Mahan added a two-run homer in the ninth inning to complete the scoring for Kentuckyl

Salow relieved right-hander Justin Lewis who threw the first 4.1 innings and gave up four runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. Salow earned the win after throwing a hitless 4.2 innings with one walk and 10 strikeouts.  He is 2-3 on the year. Junior right-hander Tyler Johnson suffered the loss after giving up three runs, one earned, on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in one-plus inning of relief. He is now 0-1 on the season.

Ross Grosvenor got South Carolina on the board in the bottom of the second inning as he a crushed a solo homer to center field, his first of his career to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead.

The Wildcats responded in the top of the third with three runs. Marcus Carson was hit by a pitch to open the frame and was moved to second thanks to a sacrifice bunt by Connor Heady then sent home on a single to left field by Tristan Pompey. Evan White then knocked a two-run homer to left field, helping Kentucky to a two-run cushion. Kentucky added a run in the top of the fourth as Troy Squires doubled to right field and Tyler Marshall singled to left center to send Squires home and give the Wildcats a 4-1 advantage.

GAME CHANGER

Kentucky’s multiple-run eighth and ninth innings broke the tie and gave the Wildcats a five-run lead they would not relinquish.

KEY STAT

Salow held the Gamecocks to no hits in the final 4.2 innings of the contest.

NOTABLES

  • LT Tolbert tallied a multi-hit game for the Gamecocks going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
  • John Jones launched his first home run of the season, seventh of his career in the fifth inning.

QUOTABLE

Head Coach Chad Holbrook

“You have to credit Kentucky. They are an awfully good team. I was proud of our guys’ effort, their want to and their will to play and fight back and make a game of it. We had a chance here and there but they had a big two-out hit tin the eighth and gave them the lead and then we struggled to close them out. They are a good team. Logan Salow is terrific, his numbers are what they are because he has a special breaking ball and he has good stuff, and we were no match for him. I’m proud of my team in some respects, they came down with great effort, energy, and enthusiasm. They put themselves in a position to win late, but we couldn’t make a play and couldn’t make a pitch to give ourselves a chance. In this league, the good teams make you pay, and that is what Kentucky did.”

UP NEXT

The Gamecocks are back in action on Wednesday, May 3 as they host Wofford. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+ and is also available on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”

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