South Carolina got back in the win column on Friday, blowing out Kentucky 11-3 in the series opener.
After the Wildcats left the bases loaded in the top of the first, the Gamecocks got on the board in the bottom of the inning, taking a 1-0 lead when Josiah Sightler doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Andrew Eyster. UK tied things up in the next inning, making it a 1-1 game thanks to a solo shot byJohn Thrasher. USC got the run back in the bottom of the inning though, going up 2-1 when Jalen Vasquez homered to start things off, then they added four more insurance runs. Michael Braswell singled, Colin Burgess reached on an error, and Evan Stone got hit by a pitch to load the bases. With one out, Kevin Madden reached on a fielder’s choice and Braswell came home to make it 3-1, then Sightler went yard to put the Cocks up 6-1.
Carolina added another run in the third, when Vasquez singled and later scored on a base hit by Brandt Belk to make the score 7-1. The Wildcats tacked on a run in the fourth, making it a 7-2 fame courtesy of a single by Chase Estep. The Gamecocks answered in the bottom of the inning, taking an 8-2 lead when Eyster homered with one out.
USC scored its final runs of the game in the sixth. Sightler doubled with one out, Eyster reached on an error, and Vasquez walked with two outs to load the bases, then Braswell cleared them with a double to make it 11-2. Kentucky’s only other run came in the ninth on a Devin Burkes double.
Cocks starter Brett Thomas worked four innings and allowed three hits and two runs. He walked three batters, struck out five, and got the win, making him 1-1. Cade Austin and John Gilreath also pitched in this game. Wildcats starter Austin Strickland went one inning and gave up four hits and five runs. He didn’t walk any batters or strike any out, and he took the loss, making him 2-3. Braswell led South Carolina at the plate with four hits, while he and Sightler each tallied three RBI. Six different UK players tallied a hit, and Estep, Thrasher, and Burkes each recorded an RBI.
USC is now 25-23 overall and 11-14 in the SEC, while the Wildcats are 26-22 overall and 9-16 in conference play. They’ll meet again on Saturday, with first pitch set for noon at Founders Park.