License to Thrill: No. 4 Kentucky Survives Six-Run 1st, Rallies to Win

License to Thrill: No. 4 Kentucky Survives Six-Run 1st, Rallies to Win

COLUMBIA, S.C. – These Wildcats like their thrillers.

No. 4 Kentucky gave up a six-run first inning before scoring 11 unanswered runs to erase a five-run deficit and later survive a wild ninth inning to claim a 15-13 victory over No. 19 South Carolina in a second drama-filled contest in as many nights at Founders Park.

With the win Kentucky clinches a winning record in Southeastern Conference play for just the eighth time in its history and moves to 33-8 on the season, 16-4 in conference play.

The Cats scored five runs each in the fourth and fifth innings before tacking on three more in the ninth. The insurance runs proved critical as South Carolina scored two in the ninth and left the bases loaded to end the game when centerfielder Nolan McCarthy made a leaping grab at the wall on Tristan Casas’ potential game-winning drive.

Grant Smith drove in four runs, Ryan Nicholson hit a pair of home runs and Ryan Waldschmidt extended his hit streak to 12 games with four more knocks and four runs scored on the night.

Smith and Emilien Pitre also executed a gutsy double steal that included Pitre swiping home. As Pitre broke for home Smith took off from first and intentionally stumbled, drawing the attention of pitcher Matthew Becker. By the time Becker realized what was happening, Pitre slid safely into home and Smith scrambled to second.



  • Kentucky now is 33-8 in 2024, 16-4 in Southeastern Conference play.
    • Kentucky is 14-2 in night games.
    • Kentucky is 9-4 in April.
    • Kentucky is 9-2 in SEC road games.
    • Kentucky is 5-15 all-time at Founders Park.
  • Kentucky is 11-3 vs. ranked teams and 14-3 vs. Quad 1 opponents.
  • Kentucky pitchers have struck out 30 Gamecocks in two games.
  • Kentucky has hit 33 home runs in its last 10 games.
    • Kentucky has 4+ homers in a game six times this season, five in SEC play.
  • Kentucky scored 3+ runs in an inning for the 53rd, 54th and 55th times this season.
    • UK has scored at least in 19 of those.
  • Kentucky stole 7-of-8 bases in the game.
    • It’s the second time this season UK has stolen seven bags (at Auburn).
    • UK pulled off a double steal that included Emilien Pitre swiping home.
    • Grant Smith stole three bags.
    • Kentucky is 10-of-11 in the series and 91-of-112 on the season.
  • UK Coach Nick Mingione is in his eighth season at the helm and now owns a 249-158 career record.
    • Mingione needs nine victories to become the second-winningest coach in school history.
    • UK is 58-58 in the month of April under Coach Mingione.
    • Mingione now is 11-11 vs. South Carolina.
  • Senior Cam O’Brien struck out a season-best six in 2.1 innings.
  • Junior Cooper Robinson earned the win with two scoreless innings.
  • Senior Ryan Hagenow earned his first save of the season by recording the final two outs with the bases loaded.
  • Junior Ryan Waldschmidt was 4-for-6 with four runs, an RBI, a double and two steals.
    • With a single in the first he now owns a career-long 12-game hit streak.
    • He owns a eight-game streak with multiple hits.
    • He tied his career high in runs and hits.
    • He is 16 of his last 28.
  • Senior Nick Lopez went 1-for-5 with two RBI.
    • He is riding a 18-game reached base streak.
  • Senior Grant Smith went 2-for-5 with four RBI, a walk and three steals.
    • The four RBI are a career high.
  • Senior Ryan Nicholson went 2-for-4 with three runs, two RBI, a walk and two home runs.
    • He has four multi-homer games this season.
    • 12 of his 14 homers have come in SEC play.
  • Sophomore James McCoy went 2-for-5 with two runs and a solo homer.
  • Junior Emilien Pitre went 2-for-5 with two runs, two RBI and a steal.
    • He has reached base in 18 straight games.



The Wildcats take on South Carolina on Sunday in a rubber game. First pitch is at 3 p.m. ET and the game will be televised ed on the SEC Network, along with an audio broadcast via the UK Sports Network.

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