HOOVER, ALA. – South Carolina raced out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning, but Kentucky responded with seven unanswered runs and defeated the Gamecocks 7-2 on Wednesday afternoon at the 2017 SEC Baseball Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The Gamecocks are now 33-24 with Kentucky 39-18 on the year.
Kentucky went to one of its starters in relief and Zach Logue earned the win with three scoreless innings of work allowing just two hits and striking out four. He is 7-5 on the year. Right-hander Chris Machamer followed him with three scoreless innings of work with just one hit allowed for his first save of the season. South Carolina freshman right-hander Cody Morris took the loss and is 3-2 on the year. He allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits in 3.2 innings with one walk and two strikeouts.
Both teams traded a pair of runs in the third inning. Carolina broke ahead 2-0 in the top half of the frame. TJ Hopkins walked with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch followed by an intentional walk to Carlos Cortes and a base hit to left-center by Riley Hogan to load the bases. Alex Destino would drive in Hopkins with a sac fly to center field and Jonah Bride doubled to left field to score Cortes. Kentucky answered in the bottom half to tie the game. With runners on second and third base after a pair of one-out singles, Evan White drove in Connor Heady with a RBI groundout. A fielding error with two outs on a grounder that got past second baseman Justin Row scored Kentucky’s second run.
Kole Cottam gave the Wildcats a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to center field, his sixth homer of the year. That lead increased to 6-2 in the sixth inning as White drove in three runs with a two-out double. Kole Cottam singled with one out, Marcus Carson was hit by a pitch and Heady singled to left to load the bases for the Wildcats. After John Parke struck out Tristan Pompey for the second out of the inning, White hit the first pitch he saw from Parke into the gap in right-center to score three and give Kentucky a four-run lead. The Wildcats tacked on an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Evan White’s bases clearing double with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning gave the Wildcats a four-run lead.
Logue and Machamer combined for six scoreless innings of relief with just three hits allowed, no walks and five strikeouts.
Riley Hogan had a career day at the plate going 3-for-4 with three singles. It was his sixth multi-hit game of the season.
Carolina out-hit Kentucky 8-7 with Bride going 2-for-4 with a RBI double and Justin Row 2-for-5 at the plate.
Senior right-hander Colie Bowers pitched 1.1 perfect innings of relief with a pair of strikeouts.
QUOTABLE FROM HEAD COACH CHAD HOLBROOK
“It was a really good start. We got all we asked out of Cody Morris, our starter. He had not been in a situation like that, and to start against an SEC team, he kept us in the game.”
“I think the big turning point for us is we almost had them exactly where we wanted it when we were up 2-0 (runners) on second and third with two outs and LT had a great at-bat, and the kid – Becker – made a great play in the hole at third base and it could have easily been up 4-0. But, we have to give credit to Kentucky. They made some great plays defensively and obviously they swung the bat very well when it mattered the most when people were out there and they are very good offensively. We were just not able to keep up with them after that.”
South Carolina will play the loser of the LSU-Missouri game in an elimination contest on Thursday afternoon.