NO. 16 UK BASEBALL SWEEPS 2-TIME CHAMPS, NO. 2 USC
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Junior
Luke Maile launched a two-run homer in the first inning and sophomore
Trevor Gott recorded his second save in as many days, to lead No. 16
Kentucky to a 6-3 win over No. 2 South Carolina – the two-time
defending NCAA Champions – sweeping the Gamecocks for the first time
since 2006, in front of a season-high 2,571 on a perfect Sunday
afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (21-0, 3-0
Southeastern Conference) won its school-record 21st consecutive game
with the series sweep over the high-powered Gamecocks, who entered the
series leading the league in ERA, owning the last two NCAA and SEC
Championships and ranking No. 2 or No. 3 in the four major polls. With
the win, UK swept South Carolina for the first time since UK’s 2006 SEC
Championship season, with UK’s SEC-opening sweep the first since
besting Alabama in the 2008 league-lidlifting series.
Wildcats lead the nation in wins as the only undefeated team remaining
in college baseball. UK’s 21-game winning streak is a new
school-record, as the 2007 and 2008 team’s opened 19-0. UK owns the
longest current winning streak in college baseball.
series sweep of the Gamecocks is just the fourth in the history of the
series, dating back to 1959. UK has swept the series vs. South Carolina
in 1996, 1999, 2006 and now 2012. With a series win in 2010, UK has now
won two of the last three series meetings with the Gamecocks.
21-game winning streak is now the third-longest streak in the storied
history of SEC baseball. LSU’s NCAA Championship run in 2010
stands as the league record for the longest winning streak, a span of
23 consecutive win. UK sits behind South Carolina’s 22-game winning
streak in 2000, with UK’s 21-game streak passing Vanderbilt’s 2007
20-game streak and South Carolina’s 2000 20-game streak.
dominance during the weekend came courtesy of Maile and a shutdown
bullpen outing. The UK bullpen hurled 10.2 shutout innings with only
one hit allowed during the three games, picking up all three wins
including two saves from Gott.
Kentucky got the first-inning
homer from Maile – part of a two-hit outing – his fifth home run of the
season. Freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino went 2-for-5 at the top
of the order, while freshman A.J. Reed added a 2-for-4 game after
picking up the win on the mound and driving in the game-winning runs in
the Saturday win. Senior catcher Michael Williams delivered the
game-winning hit, with a two-RBI single to break open a 3-3 game in the
bottom of the sixth inning. UK also got hits from Matt Reida, J.T.
Riddle, Thomas McCarthy and Zac Zellers.
UK starter Corey
Littrell worked 5.1 innings, allowing nine hits and three runs, walking
two and striking out three. Walter Wijas (2-0) picked up the win in
relief of Littrell, hurling 2.1 shutout innings, allowing only two
hits. Wijas also tossed two shutout innings in relief in the
series-opening win on Friday. The Wildcats also turned to freshman Sam
Mahar for a crucial out in the eighth inning with Gott emerging in the
ninth inning from the bullpen for the second consecutive day. Gott was
again dominating, striking out two to seal the win and his fifth save
of the season.
South Carolina (15-4, 0-3 SEC) starter Colby
Holmes worked 4.2 innings, allowing four hits and three runs, walking
two and striking out three. The Gamecocks used Hunter Privette, Nolan
Belcher, Joel Seddon, Tyler Webb, Patrick Sullivan, Logan Munson and
Drake Thomason in relief of Holmes, with Belcher suffering his first
loss of the year with the decisive run allowed in 0.1 innings.
the Wildcats’ five-game week, Reed paced UK at the plate and on the
mound with a .526 average (10-for-19) with two doubles, one homer and
five RBI, in addition to two wins on the mound and a 1.12 ERA. Reed
extended his hitting streak to a club-best 12 games with his two
The finale with the Gamecocks concludes a homestand
for UK, with the Wildcats returning the action on Wednesday at
Cincinnati in the Queen City, with first pitch at Marge Schott Stadium
slated for 4 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG
Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the
After a scoreless top half of the first inning,
Kentucky got going quick. Zellers walked for the Wildcats with one out
in the top of the first before Maile drilled a two-run home run to
leftfield to put Kentucky up 2-0 after one.
out the lead-off batter in the top of the second but South Carolina
mounted a rally. Erik Payne reached on a hit by pitch for the
Gamecocks. LB Dantzler followed Payne with a double down the rightfield
line to score Payne with one out. After allowing his first run of the
day, Littrell struck out T.J. Costen. Adam Matthews delivered a
two-out, infield single as. Riddle prevented the ball from getting
through the infield and forcing Dantzler to stay on third. Littrell got
out of the inning by picking Matthews off at first and preserving
Kentucky’s 2-1 lead.
South Carolina threatened in the top of the
fourth. Payne got the Gamecocks going with a single through the left
side of the infield with one out. Dantzler singled through the right to
put runners on first and second with one out before Costen walked to
load the bases with one out. Littrell worked out of the bases-loaded
jam with a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
struck back in the top of the fifth as Tanner English led off with an
infield single before advancing to second on an Evan Marzilli sacrifice
bunt. Joey Pankake reached base on an infield hit to the right side of
the field, leaving runners on first and third with one out in the top
of the fifth. English scored on a Walker ground out to second as
Pankake advanced to second. Grayson Greiner came up with a two-out
single to leftfield for the Gamecocks, scoring Pankake from second and
giving the Gamecocks their first lead of the day at 3-2.
responded to South Carolina’s two-run top of the fifth with a two-out
rally sparked by Cousino’s double down the first base line. Zellers
knocked Cousino in with a base hit to leftfield. With Maile coming to
the plate, South Carolina brought in the submarine righty Privette to
replace Holmes on the mound. Zellers stole second but was left stranded
as Kentucky left the fifth tied 3-3.
Belcher came in to pitch
for South Carolina in the bottom of the sixth and Kentucky got going
with a Reed line-drive single up the middle. With one out, Sedden
replaced Belcher on the mound before walking McCarthy. South Carolina
chose to replace Sedden with runners on first and second by bringing
Webb in to the game. Riddle singled through the left side to load the
bases for Kentucky with one out. Williams came up big for the Wildcats
as he drove in two runs with a single through the right side, scoring
Reed and McCarthy. Williams advanced to second on the throw home to
leave runners on second and third with one out. Riddle scored on a wild
pitch to give Kentucky a 6-3 lead through six.
Mahar started the
ninth for the Wildcats but after Pankake reached first on a fielding
error, Gott took the mound for the save opportunity. Gott closed the
game for the Wildcats, forcing a fly out to left and two strike outs in