USC Utilizes Two Six-Run Innings to Top UK

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks utilized two six-run innings and a splendid pitching performance from freshman starter Blake Cooper, to capture the series from the Kentucky Wildcats with a 13-6 win on Sunday afternoon in front of 4,803 fans at Sarge Frye Field.

UK starter Greg Dombrowski took the loss, falling to 4-2 on the season. Dombrowski worked 3 1/3 innings, allowing four runs. Cooper handcuffed the UK offense through the first four innings, picking up the win in 5 2/3 innings of work. Cooper allowed four runs, striking out five, improving to 6-1 on the campaign. USC ace reliever Jeff Jeffords notched the save, his third of the year.

Kentucky (31-15-1, 10-13-1 Southeastern Conference) got multi-hit performances from Antone DeJesus, Sean Coughlin, and Brian Spear. Coughlin contributed his 11th home run of the season and senior Matt McKinney delivered his third blast of the year.

South Carolina (35-14, 13-11 SEC) got on the board first, pushing across the first run of the contest in the third inning. With two outs, third baseman James Darnell reached on an infield single. Dombrowski issued just his eighth walk of the season, to the dangerous Just Smoak, putting runners on first and second. Designated hitter Phil Disher drove in Darnell with a single through the left side, putting USC up 1-0.

The Gamecocks took control of the game in the fourth inning, plating six runs to take a 7-0 lead. USC right fielder Jon Willard led off the bottom half of the fourth inning with a line drive down the left field line, corralled by left fielder Keenan Wiley for a double. Cheyne Hurst followed with a single just out of reach of a diving Brian Spear at second base. Steven Reinhold scored Willard with a base hit into left, moving Hurst to second. Havens reached on a fielders choice, putting runners on first and second. Dombrowski was pulled in favor of Duran Ferguson, who promptly gave up a home run to the blistering hot Travis Jones. Jones shot was over the fence in left-center field, his 15th homer of the season. Darnell followed with his own shot, his 16th of the season, placed into the same place over the left-center field wall. Smoak walked and came around to score on an RBI single from Disher.

The Wildcats narrowed the Gamecock lead to 7-4 in the sixth, scoring four runs on four hits. Matt McKinney led off with his third homer of the season, a line-drive shot clearing the left-center field fence. Mike Brown walked, Antone DeJesus singled to the shortstop and Sawyer Carroll got hit by a pitch to load the bases for the SEC RBI leader, Sean Coughlin. Coughlin delivered an RBI single up the middle, scoring Brown. Brian Spear knocked in DeJesus with an RBI single of his own and Ryan Wilkes plated Carroll, hitting a liner to the third baseman, Darnell, who mishandled it for a fielding error.

South Carolina answered the UK rally with a six-spot in its half of the sixth, taking a 13-4 lead. The Gamecocks utilized three hits and a fielding error to take control of the game. The inning was highlighted by a three-run home run from Cheyne Hurst, his first of the season.

Kentucky would not quit, as the Wildcats rallied with two runs in the eighth, beginning with a lead-off Coughlin home run - the catcher’s 11th roundtripper of the season. UK got two single and a hit batter to load the bases for Mike Brown, who walked in the second run of the inning.

Kentucky returns to action with a week-long road swing, beginning on Wednesday with a mid-week matchup with Evansville. First pitch on Wednesday is set for 7 p.m. EDT.

Post-Game Notes

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky falls to 31-15-1 with the loss, including a 10-13-1 mark in Southeastern Conference action. South Carolina improves to 35-14, 13-11 in the SEC.
  • Kentucky still trails the all-time series with South Carolina, 33-25.
  • Kentucky returns to action with a week-long road swing, beginning on Wednesday with a trip to Evansville. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. EDT.

    Individual Game Notes

  • Sean Coughlin made his team-leading 65th consecutive start.
  • Coughlin hit his team-high 11th home run of the season.
  • Senior Matt McKinney hit his third homer of the year, a line-drive shot over the left-field fence.


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