Kentucky Closes Out Season with Loss at No. 23 South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina, ranked 23rd in the country, put together three big innings and got solid pitching from starter Arik Hempy to complete a three-game sweep of Kentucky on Sunday at Sarge Frye Field.
The game closed out Kentucky’s season as the Wildcats finished 29-27 overall and 7-22 in the Southeastern Conference. The 29 wins are the second most for UK since the 1997 season and the most in five years. South Carolina ended the year 37-19 overall and 16-14 in the league.
For the third straight game, Kentucky got on the board first as Shaun Lehmann led off the game with a double and scored on John Shelby’s fielder’s choice. The two-bagger was Lehmann’s 20th this season, which is tied for seventh most in UK history.
That was the only run Kentucky would muster off the Gamecocks as Hempy, who went six innings and allowed the lone run on four hits while fanning eight and walking two. He improved 2-0 on the year.
South Carolina took control in the third. After loading the bases with nobody out, Steven Tolleson scored a run with a sacrifice fly before Steve Pearce’s double plated a second run. Chris Brown’s RBI single made it 3-1 Gamecocks heading to the fourth.
Pearce extended the South Carolina lead to three runs with a solo home run in the fifth. It was his 18th long ball of the year.
A three-run sixth and five-run eighth put the game out of reach at 12-1. In the seventh, Neil Giesler and Tommy King led off with consecutive singles. After a fielder’s choice and a foul out, Michael Campbell plated a run with an RBI single to right. A pair of fielding errors by John Shelby allowed the final two runs of the inning to score.
Kentucky starter Andrew Albers was chased during the sixth after allowing seven runs -- five earned – on eight hits. He took the loss to fall to 4-6.
In the eighth, the Gamecocks sent 10 men to the plate and knocked five hits to go along with a Wildcat error en route to the five runs.