Christian Walker tied a school record for doubles in a game with three, tied his career-high with four hits and also drove in four runs while senior right-hander Blake Cooper improved to 9-0 on the year in 5 2-3 innings of work as South Carolina held on for a 13-9 victory over Kentucky in game one of a three-game SEC baseball series on Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
With the win, USC is now 36-9 and 17-5 in the SEC while the loss drops Kentucky to 24-21 and 7-15 in league play.
Trailing 7-4, the Gamecocks scored five runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 9-7 lead. Things got started for USC on a one-out base hit by Bobby Haney. USC then caught a break as a sacrifice bunt by Scott Wingo was misplayed by third baseman Andy Burns to give the Gamecocks a pair of runners. Whit Merrifield reached base then on an infield single to load the bases. On a 0-1 pitch, Jackie Bradley Jr. drilled a double to right field scoring both Haney and Wingo and cutting the Kentucky lead to one run. The Wildcats went to the pen for reliever Nick Kennedy. Christian Walker welcomed him to the game drilling a double to the warning track in right field scoring Merrifield and tying the game at 7-7. Pinch hitter Jeffery Jones would put the Gamecocks ahead on a RBI groundout to score Bradley and Adrian Morales had a two-out RBI base hit to left field scoring Walker as the Gamecocks went ahead by two runs.
Game two of the series is set for 7 p.m. today and will be televised on FSN.
University of South Carolina
CLEMSON 18, MARYLAND 6 -- In College Park, Md., Mike Freeman began Friday in Clemson, received his financial management degree in the morning, flew to the greater Washington, D.C. area in the afternoon, then went 4-for-5 with three RBIs to lead Clemson to a victory over Maryland.
The Tigers, who took a 1-0 series lead, improved to 29-17 overall and 12-10 in the ACC. The Terrapins fell to 16-35 overall and 4-21 in ACC play.
The Tigers jumped out to a 9-0 lead through five innings then put the game out of reach with seven runs in the seventh. Four Tigers in all made the trek from Tigertown to Maryland after receiving their degrees on Friday. Wilson Boyd, who received his degree in management, went 1-for-2 with two RBIs, and Josh Thrailkill, who also received his management degree, pitched the final two innings with three strikeouts. Justin Sarratt, who is out for the season due to injury, received his management degree as well.
Tiger starter Casey Harman (6-1) won the battle of Harmans on Friday. In six innings pitched, he allowed six hits and two runs to earn the victory.
Brett Harman (4-8), no relation to his starting counterpart, suffered the loss after yielding six runs (five earned) on six hits in 4.0 innings pitched.
Will Lamb hit the first pitch of the game off the top of the fence in center for a double. Freeman lined the next pitch off the pitcher for a single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, tied for the longest by a Tiger in 2010.
Clemson and Maryland will play the second game of the series at 1 p.m. today.