No. 3 South Carolina struggled again in all phases against Kentucky on Saturday, falling 14-7 and dropping another conference series.
The Wildcats got on the board first, making it 2-0 in the second on a fielder’s choice and a groundout by Grant Smith. The Gamecocks took their only lead of the game in the top of the third. Will Tippett walked with one out, then Michael Braswell and Ethan Petry walked with two outs to load the bases. Cole Messina followed with a double that cleared the bags, making it 3-2. UK tied it up at 3-3 in the bottom of the inning on a wild pitch.
The Wildcats regained the lead in the fourth, thanks to a double by Jackson Gray and a base hit by Émilien Pitre, making the score 5-3. USC tied it back up in the top of the fifth, after Messina doubled with two outs and Gavin Casas went yard to make it a 5-5 game. Things unfortunately went downhill after that. Kentucky scored three runs in the bottom of the inning on a triple by Jase Felker, putting them up 8-5. They added three more in the sixth, taking an 11-5 lead courtesy of a homer from James McCoy.
Another Wildcats run came in the seventh on a groundout by Hunter Gilliam, making it a 12-5 game, before the Cocks finally got another run when Casas blasted a solo shot in the top of the eighth, making it 12-6. UK’s final two runs of the game came in the bottom of the eighth on a Devin Burkes groundout and a base hit by Grant Smith. Carolina scored once in the ninth, when Evan Stone reached on an error and later scored when Petry singled.
Gamecocks starter Jack Mahoney pitched four innings and allowed seven hits and four runs. He also walked four batters and struck out two. James Hicks and Connor McCreery combined to go the rest of the way for USC, and Hicks took the loss, making him 6-1. Wildcats starter Tyler Bosma went 3.1 innings and gave up three hits and three runs. He also issued four walks and struck three batters out. Reliever Austin Strickland got the win and is now 3-0.
Casas paced the Cocks at the plate with three hits, while he and Messina tallied three RBI each. Pitre and Waldschmidt led UK with three hits apiece, while Felker and McCoy each recorded three RBI.
South Carolina is now 35-10 overall and 14-8 in conference play, while the Wildcats are 32-13 on the season and 13-10 in the SEC. The Gamecocks will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday, with first pitch set for 2 p.m. in Lexington.