Javon Shelby, Via UKAthletics
It looked like a promising opening night of No. 28 Kentucky Baseball’s (27-19, 11-11) weekend series against No. 2 South Carolina (36-9, 16-5) at The Cliff this evening. The Batcats jumped out to an early lead, but the SEC East-leading Gamecocks showed why they’re a top-five team in the country with a late offensive outburst. Two four-run innings propelled South Carolina to a 10-5 victory in Game One. Let’s get to the box score and a few notes from the contest.
Another rough outing for Zack Brown. The junior opened the game with a couple of strong frames on the mound – getting out of an early jam in the second – but things went downhill quick starting in the top of the fourth. Two home runs and a parade of hits later, and Brown’s night was over after allowing nine runs on ten hits through 5.1 innings. Logan Salow and Zach Pop clocked in some solid innings of relief, but the damaged had already been done for the evening.
Part of Brown’s struggles in 2016 have been the competition he’s been facing, but one has to hope he can turn it around as the team turns its attention towards postseason play.
Riley Mahan carried the offense. The shortstop launched his fifth homer of the year – a three-run shot – to get things started in the top of the first, and added a couple more hits to his name as well. Zach Reks also helped the Wildcat cause with a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, and Tristian Pompey came through with a sacrifice fly an inning later, but a few missed opportunities kept Gary Henderson and the gang from mounting another come-from-behind win at home we’ve grown accustomed to all season.
Mahan singles for his third hit of the game and Becker draws a walk but they are stranded. End of eight innings — USC 9, UK 5
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) May 7, 2016
That’ll do it for tonight. The series will resume tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m., with Dustin Beggs going to the mound to face South Carolina freshman Braden Webb in a much needed bounce back game. Stay tuned to KSR for all the updates and the postgame recap.