LEXINGTON, Ky. — It didnt take long for the wheels to fall off the top-ranked South Carolina baseball teams wagon Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (16-6, 2-2 SEC) scored nine runs in the first two innings on the way to 13-5 victory in the first game of the SEC series, marking the second straight week the Gamecocks (18-2, 2-2) have lost their series opener.
Now they must bounce back like they did against Mississippi last weekend, when they rallied to win the final two games to claim the series.
USC junior left-hander Jordan Montgomery (3-2) allowed nine runs, seven earned, on 10 hits in two innings of work, which marked his second straight ineffective start. His ERA jumped to 4.99.
On Friday nights in this league, if you dont get a quality start it is difficult to win, USC coach Chad Holbrook said. That being said, we didnt help (Jordan) any defensively in the first inning with two errors that contributed to their three runs. We need to pitch and play defense a lot better on a Friday night to win, and we didnt give ourselves a chance to win tonight.
All nine Kentucky starters had at least one hit, and seven of the nine drove in at least one run. Thomas Bernal led the 14-hit attack with three hits, while Max Kuhn, A.J. Reed and Matt Reida added two hits apiece. Michael Thomas hit a three-run home run in a six-run second inning that ended with the Wildcats leading 9-1. JaVon Shelby also hit a solo homer in the second.
The left-handed Reed (4-1) got the job done on the mound as well. He allowed nine hits and walked none over eight innings, and three of his five runs allowed were earned.
USCs bullpen also gave up a run in the third inning, although it was an unearned one off right-hander Taylor Widener. It was the first one allowed by a reliever since the season opener and snapped the scoreless streak at 61 1/3 innings.
The Gamecocks finished with 10 hits, as Joey Pankake led the way with an RBI-single in the first inning and a solo home run in the six as he extended his hitting streak to eight. Kyle Martin also added a pair of hits, and Grayson Greiner had an RBI single in the sixth inning.
Max Schrock, whos recovering from an ankle sprain, got his first start as the second baseman since the March 5 game against Stetson. He went hitless and he made an error in the first inning, one of four USC errors on the night.
Game two of the series is at 2 p.m. Saturday and will be televised by Fox Sports South.