Cold Cocked: No. 21 Kentucky Slugs Way Past No. 3 South Carolina Gamecocks
Austin Strickland provided a sensational outing on the mound out of the bullpen and No. 21 Kentucky claimed its first series victory over a top five opponent in exactly one year, doubling up No. 3 South Carolina 14-7 on Saturday at Kentucky Proud Park.
The Wildcats (32-13, 13-10 Southeastern Conference) scored in every inning but the first and saw every starter log a hit while punishing the Gamecocks for the second straight game, closing out another Derby weekend series win. On the same weekend last season, UK throttled top-ranked Tennessee on the same field.
Ryan Waldschmidt and Emilien Pitre each had three hits and Jase Felker (bases loaded triple) and James McCoy (three-run home run) delivered clutch two-out hits to lead a 16-hit assault.
Strickland produced career highs in innings (5.0) and pitches (72) while striking out six and keeping the slugging Gamecocks from providing many anxious moments.
The Cats will go for the sweep on Sunday.
- UK Coach Nick Mingione is in his seventh season at the helm and now owns a 208-142 career record.
- UK is 36-36 in the month of May under Coach Mingione.
- Mingione now is 9-10 vs. South Carolina.
- UK is 8-7 this season vs. ranked opponents.
- UK is 3-5 versus Top 5 opponents.
- UK has scored in 343 of 350 games in Mingione’s tenure.
- UK has 13 triples this season, its most since 2008.
- UK earned its first series win over a Top 5 opponent since defeating No. 1 Tennessee two games to one at Kentucky Proud Park exactly one year ago.
- UK has successfully advanced the runner 6-of-7 times it has punt a bunt in play (four SACs, two singles) in the series and also executed a successful bait-and-slash in Game 1.
- UK won its fourth SEC series.
- Outfielder Jackson Gray went 2-for-4 with two runs, to doubles, two walks and an RBI.
- He has reached base safely in 33 of 47 plate appearances.
- Outfielder James McCoy went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run and stolen base.
- He had his fourth career multi-hit game.
- He had his fifth career multi-RBI game.
- Infielder Jase Felker went 1-for-4 with a three-run triple and SAC.
- He broke a 5-5 tie with his game-winning bases loaded triple.
- Outfielder Ryan Waldschmidt went 3-for-4 with three runs, a double, a steal and HBP.
- Pitcher Austin Strickland earned the victory in relief.
- He pitched a career-high 5.0 innings and threw a career-high 72 pitches.
- He struck out six and yielded only a pair of home runs to Gavin Casas.
Kentucky will go for a series sweep over South Carolina at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network (630 AM WLAP, locally) and it will be aired on the SEC Network.