In a feat it seemed was impossible this season, South Carolina opened up a conference series with a victory, bouncing back from a bummer of a midweek game to beat Kentucky on Friday night.
The Gamecocks wasted no time getting on the board, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Brady Allen and Andrew Eyster started things off with a pair of singles, then Wes Clarke singled too to score Allen and make it 1-0. With one out, Josiah Sightler knocked a base hit of his own to bring Eyster home and make the score 2-0, then Braylen Wimmer tripled with two outs to add two more runs.
The Wildcats ended the shutout in the third thanks to a pair of doubles from Coltyn Kessler and Oraj Anu that made it a 4-3 game. USC got those runs back in the next inning, though. Brennan Milone singled to lead off, George Callil walked, and Allen came through with an RBI single to make it 5-3. Clarke was walked intentionally with one out, Mendham followed with a sac fly to bring in Callil and bump the score to 6-3, then Sightler doubled to increase the lead to 7-3.
Three more insurance runs for the Cocks came in the fifth inning. Braylen Wimmer doubled to start things off, Milone walked, and Callil reached on a fielder’s choice. A couple of wild pitches brought Milone home to make it an 8-3 game, then Allen walked and another wild pitch got Callil in to give Carolina a 9-3 lead. The Gamecocks then got into double digits with an RBI groundout by Clarke, putting them up 10-3.
South Carolina added one more run each in the final two innings. In the eighth, Milone walked and later scored on a bases loaded walk, making the score 11-3, the Wimmer went yard with two outs in the ninth for the last run of the game.
Gamecocks starter Brannon Jordan pitched five innings and gave up five hits and three runs, walked four batters and struck six out. He got the win and is now 5-4. Daniel Lloyd, Andrew Peters, and Julian Bosnic also took the mound in this game, and Bosnic earned the save, his third. Kentucky starter Cole Stupp took the loss and is now 4-5. Allen, Sightler, and Wimmer each tallied three hits, while Clarke and Wimmer recorded three RBI each.
USC improves to 29-18 overall and 13-12 in the SEC, while the Wildcats are now 27-18 overall and 11-14 in conference play. The Cocks will try to lock up a series victory on Saturday, with first pitch set for 2 p.m. in Lexington.