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Recap: Hairston’s Walkoff Home Run Powers No. 28 Kentucky to 5-4 Series-Clinching Win Over No. 2 South Carolina

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Dorian Hairston, via UKAthletics

The Mother’s Day crowd at Cliff Hagan Stadium got quite the show on Sunday afternoon. Gary Henderson’s No. 28 Kentucky team needed to make a statement to help their postseason prospects, and the Batcats delivered with more late-inning heroics. After rallying from one-down to force extras, senior Dorian Hairston decided to take matters into his own hands with a leadoff bomb to right in the bottom of the twelfth. The Cats (29-19, 13-11) walked off 5-4 over No. 2 South Carolina (36-11, 16-7), and clinched a huge series win. Let’s get to the box score and some notes from the W.

school_logo_large_dark Kentucky:


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5gje9m4b1shmcd442rkpxkeb8 South Carolina:


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school_logo_large_dark Kyle Cody wasn’t his usually Sunday-Stopper self, but it’ll do. Turning to the final game of this pivotal series, all eyes were on the senior RHP to come through with another signature performance on the mound. Allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits through only 5.1 innings of work isn’t exactly what led the Cats to the win, but keeping the Gamecock lineup at bay when they got runners on base and allowing the Kentucky offense to rack up a three-run lead to start the afternoon shouldn’t be overlooked.

school_logo_large_dark Sean Hjelle was dominant. The freshman has proven himself in plenty of clutch situations throughout 2016, but none may be as impressive (or needed) than his four innings of two-hit, shutout baseball against a top-ten lineup. It wasn’t an easy outing my any means – Hjelle had to work around a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the top of the 11th – but the lanky 6’11 RHP confidently sent Carolina’s Madison Stokes down on strikes for his third of the inning, and didn’t look back from there.

school_logo_large_dark JaVon Shelby goes yard…again. For an SEC-leading eleventh time this season, the standout third basemen played long-ball with a two-run shot to left in the bottom of the third. In an important rubber match, getting on the board first is a huge momentum boost, and you have to like Shelby doing all that he can as of late to get the Wildcat offense going.

school_logo_large_dark Late-inning drama at home…again. After South Carolina rallied to take its first lead of the game in the top of the eighth, Zach Reks promptly answered with a solo shot to right field to even things up again 4 a piece. Hjelle took over on the mound and held things steady through the bottom of the twelfth from there, and Dorian Hairston’s walkoff shot to right started/ended the bottom half of the frame with a bang. Cats win, moms win, everyone wins.

That’ll do it for this weekend. The Batcats hit the road this week for a matchup at Indiana on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., then travel to Oxford, Mississippi to face Ole Miss. It’ll be another big week of baseball with the SEC Tournament only drawing closer and Kentucky needing all the wins they can get to set up a deep tourney run and a ticket to the NCAA’s. Stay tuned to KSR for all the coverage.


Article written by Brooks Holton

2 Comments for Recap: Hairston’s Walkoff Home Run Powers No. 28 Kentucky to 5-4 Series-Clinching Win Over No. 2 South Carolina

  1. BluKudzu
    4:57 am May 9, 2016 Permalink

    Thus far, they have swept the number one team in the nation, took 2 of 3 from the number two team in the nation, and have lost to some very bad teams, a lot.
    This team, when motivated, can play with anybody. They have a real chance to go deep in the tourney, if they get focused. The SEC is brutal this year, with 7 of the top 13 teams (4 of the top 5), in the nation. UK has a chance. So does Louisville, which swept Kentucky this year. Both could go very deep in post season play.

  2. smokindave
    1:37 pm May 9, 2016 Permalink

    Proud of the way they stayed in the game. But they got outhit 14-5-at home-and 3 of the 5 hits were home runs. Love the power, but can’t depend on it every game-especially at tournament time. Like to see Gary doing a bit less Captain Hook too-the L/L or R/R matchup is great-if needed. If your guy has been getting people out-let him run.