Cody, McNeill Lead Baseball to Series Sweep
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kyle Cody didn’t allow an earned run over six innings and Gunnar McNeill belted his third home run of the year, leading Kentucky to a 3-1 win over USC Upstate in the nightcap of a series-concluding doubleheader, on Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (12-3) extended its winning streak to nine games with the result, with UK sweeping USC Upstate in the three-game set. UK opened the season with a six-game, two-week road swing before returning for a 10-game homestand, which concludes Tuesday, to prepare for Southeastern Conference play.
A native of Chippewa Falls, Wis., Cody (2-1) worked his second quality start of the year in the win, allowing only two hits and an unearned run in six innings of work, striking out seven and walking three. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound righty gave way to senior Zach Strecker with a 3-1 lead to open the seventh. Strecker fired shutout frames in the seventh and eighth, getting an out in the ninth inning with two strikeouts. Strecker threw 29 pitches with 25 going for strikes. After a pair of one-out singles vs. Logan Salow, freshman Justin Lewis came on to retire the final two hitters in the game for his second save of the year.
McNeill, a 6-foot-2 slugger out of Orlando, Fla., had his third homer and his third three-RBI game of the season. McNeill extended his hitting streak to nine games and has reached base safely in all 15 games of his Kentucky career. UK also got hits from Marcus Carson, Riley Mahan, Tyler Marshall, Storm Wilson and Evan White.
USC Upstate (8-9) starter Charlie Carpenter (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in three innings, striking out three.
UK will return to action on Tuesday, hosting Western Kentucky at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky got on the board in the first inning, as White reached on a one-out single and Mahan replaced him on a fielder’s choice. McNeill then smashed his third homer of the year over the leftfield fence, giving UK a 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, White was hit by a two-strike pitch and Mahan singled to leftfield. After a wild pitch moved the pair into scoring position with one out, McNeill lined a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score White.
USC Upstate got on the board in the fifth inning, as Jake Beaver led off with a walk, taking second on a chopper back to the pitcher with two outs. Brandon Brundage then chopped a grounder up the middle, with the ball skidding off the mitt of a UK defender, allowing Beaver to score from second with an unearned run.
In the eighth, Wilson doubled down the rightfield line, taking third on a deep line out from White.