Gamecocks' offense stalls as Kentucky clinches series

GoGamecocks staff and wire reportsMarch 22, 2014 

— South Carolina couldn't rally from a Game 2 deficit this week, dropping Saturday's game to Kentucky 2-1. The Wildcats clinched the series with the win.

The No. 1 Gamecocks (18-3, 2-3 SEC) couldn't capitalize on seven hits, four walks by Kentucky pitchers and three Wildcats errors. Second baseman D.C. Arendas doubled to lead off the ninth inning but was stranded at third base.

“We have to win some games on offense sometimes,” Chad Holbrook said. “Sometimes our pitching staff is our pacifier, our security blanket. It’s not good enough. We have to swing the bats some, we have to score, we have to get some big hits. We can’t try to win games 3-2 all the time or we are going to have our share of losses. That’s what occurred today.”

Jack Wynkoop (4-1) pitched 7 innings, striking out nine, giving up five hits and two earned runs. Grayson Greiner drove in USC's only run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the 8th inning.

An umpire call in the fifth inning led to the ejection of Holbrook. Tanner English led off the fifth inning with a base hit. With no outs, Marcus Mooney knocked a grounder into the hole between short and third base. UK shortstop Matt Reida threw over to second on the fielder’s choice. English slid into second base but was ruled out by umpire Todd Henderson. Holbrook proceeded out to argue the call and was eventually ejected by Henderson.

“The call didn’t go our way,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. “I’m not allowed to comment on the call. I know that I will go out and argue if I think I’m right. It’s up to people analyzing replay to determine whether I was right or not. I was going out there because I thought he was safe. It’s an emotional game. I know that, to the shortstop, it was a three or four hopper moving to his right and the fastest player in the country (English) has a chance to beat it out.”

Arendas finished 2-for-4. Joey Pankake extended his hitting streak to nine games.

The third game of the series is at 1 pm Sunday. It is not on television but will be streamed online at ESPN3. Kentucky (17-6, 3-2 SEC) will be trying for its first three-game sweep of a top-ranked team since 1991.

“We’re kind of making our way back into having an identity that we like to compete, and we can and we will, given the opportunity,” Kentucky coach Gary Henderson. “I’m not going to get ahead of ourselves. But at least you feel good that they like to compete. We’re not shying away. You saw that today.”

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