Southern Cal's Tyler Gilbert Pitches USC Past Baseball
LOS ANGELES -- Kentucky got the first career home run from freshman Evan White but Southern California – the 12-time NCAA Champion – used a seven-inning start from Tyler Gilbert to post a 5-2 win over the Wildcats, on Thursday night at historic Dedeaux Field.
The Wildcats took an early lead on the strength of White’s homer, regaining the lead in the top of the fifth inning. UK’s defense kept the Wildcats in the game, as leftfielder Ka’ai Tom robbed one game-tying homer and robbed a game-tying extra-base hit in left-centerfield. USC took a 3-2 lead with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning, adding an unearned run in the seventh inning and a two-out RBI in the eighth.
Kentucky (2-1) starter Dustin Beggs made his second career start, working 4.2 innings, allowing five hits and three runs, walking two and striking out two. With two outs and a runner on first base, UK turned to Andrew Nelson in relief, who got out of the jam. Nelson worked 2.1 innings without allowing an earned run, before giving way to Air Force Academy transfer Bo Wilson for his UK debut. Wilson worked the eighth inning, allowing a run on a walk and a hit.
The Wildcats were led by a career-high equaling three-hit performance from junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett. UK also got hits from White, Storm Wilson, Thomas Bernal, Ka’ai Tom, JaVon Shelby and Greg Fettes.
Southern California (5-0) starter Tyler Gilbert fired seven strong innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out eight. Marc Huberman started the eighth inning getting a pair of outs and walking one. After the walk, USC called on acclaimed closer Kyle Davis. Davis got the final four outs to pick up his third save of the year, working around a pair of UK hits.
UK will return to action on Friday, opening up a three-game series with UC Santa Barbara at 5 p.m. ET. The three games will be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel voicing the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the first two games on Fox Sports 1580-AM and the finale on WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky. The broadcast is also available on UKathletics.com.
The Wildcats got on the board in the top of the third inning. White waited on a hanging change-up on a 0-1 offering and smashed it into the trees in left-centerfield, his first career homer.
The Trojans tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Jeremy Martinez led off with a double into the right-centerfield gap. With Timmy Robinson at the plate, Ka’ai Tom skied the wall to rob Robinson of a two-run homer for the first out. After a walk and a fly out, David Oppenheim doubled into the left-centerfield gap, just out of the reach of a diving Tom, to score Martinez.
In the top of the fifth inning, UK got on the board for a 2-1 lead. Barrett singled to leftfield with two outs and Wilson followed with a knock to left-centerfield. Bernal then delivered the two-out RBI with a single up the middle, scoring Barrett.
USC took a lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, as AJ Ramirez led off with a single, taking second on a sacrifice bunt. Martinez then lofted a blast to left-centerfield, with Tom skiing the wall to rob Martinez of extra bases. Robinson then smashed a two-run, go-ahead homer over the centerfield fence, giving USC a 3-2 lead.
In the seventh inning, Garrett Stubbs singled to rightfield, stealing second and taking third on a wild throw on the steal. With two outs, Robinson then chopped a grounder to third base, with Bernal attempted a running bare-hand that missed, allowing Stubbs to score the fourth run.
GAME NOTES: Junior Dorian Hairston made his first start of the season and the sixth of his career … Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby made his team-leading 53rd consecutive start … Junior right-hander Dustin Beggs made his second career start … Freshman first baseman Evan White belted his first career home run in the third inning … Junior righty Bo Wilson made his UK debut in the eighth inning … USC leads the series, 3-0, winning the lone meeting at USC in 1949, 10-7, and also beating UK in the NCAA Tournament in 1993, 7-1 … Junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett tied his career high with three hits, the sixth time in his career with a three-hit game.