Pretty much nothing went right for the Gamecocks tonight, as starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery struggled, the defense made multiple errors, the offense was pretty quiet, and the Wildcats took advantage of everything.
Things looked promising for USC in the first inning, as Marcus Mooney led off with a double and came home thanks to an RBI single from Joey Pankake. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse immediately.
In the bottom of the first, Kyle Barrett doubled, Max Kuhn worked a one-out walk, and both came home courtesy of a 2-RBI double from A.J. Reed, who reached second thanks to an error. Micheal Tom got on base after another Carolina error, and Thomas Bernal came through with a two-out RBI single to increase UK's lead to 3-1. That was manageable, but UK really poured it on in the next inning.
JaVon Shelby started things off by going yard, then Kuhn and Reed knocked two-out base hits. Thomas then belted a three-run homer to make it 7-1, and that wasn't all. Ka'ai Tom and Bernal followed that with back-to-back singles, and both came home when Matt Reida singled to bump the score up to 9-1.
The Wildcats tacked on another run in the third, then added a few more in the fifth. Trailing 13-1, the Gamecocks desperately needed a rally, and they tacked on a couple runs of their own in the sixth inning. Joey Pankake left the yard to lead things off, then Kyle Martin contributed a one-out double and Greiner brought him home with an RBI base hit, making the score 13-3.
South Carolina put up a pair of runs in the eighth, as Pankake and Martin reached first base thanks to a couple of errors and Logan Koch came through with a sac fly RBI, which made it 13-5. That was all they could muster, though, and both teams went quietly the rest of the way.
Montgomery lasted just 2.1 innings and gave up 10 hits, nine runs, walked one batter, and struck out two. He takes the loss and drops to 3-2 on the season. Montgomery has struggled in virtually every appearance this year, which is a bit worrisome, considering he's the Friday night starter. After impressive performances over the past couple of years, it's tough to see Montgomery just be off repeatedly, so hopefully he can get his groove back sooner rather than later.
Taylor Widener and Matthew Vogel went the rest of the way for the Gamecocks, and though the streak of scoreless innings by the bullpen ended at 62, the duo did a nice job of limiting the damage. They combined to pitch six innings and allowed four hits, four runs, issued two walks (both Vogel), and tallied seven K's. Vogel also had two wild pitches and hit three batters.
Reed, UK's starter, worked eight innings and surrendered nine hits, five runs, didn't walk anyone, struck out two batters, and had a wild pitch. He earned the win and is now 4-1 on the season. Zack Brown tossed the final inning.
Pankake and Martin each had two hits for USC, while every Wildcats player who batted recorded at least one hit.
South Carolina falls to 18-2 (2-2 in the SEC) while Kentucky improves to 16-6 (2-2 in conference play). They'll meet again tomorrow, with the first pitch set for 2 p.m.