USC bats go quiet, Kentucky clinches series

LEXINGTON, KY. (WACH) - Kentucky took a two-run lead in the first three innings and held off a late rally by top-ranked South Carolina to beat the Gamecocks 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The Wildcats clinched the weekend series with the win and improve to 17-6 and 3-2 in SEC play while South Carolina dropped to 18-3 and 2-3 in league play.

Micheal Thomas gave Kentucky a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning with a solo homer, his second of the series and fifth of the season. A two-out RBI single by Max Kuhn in the third inning gave the Wildcats a two-run edge.

USC head coach Chad Holbrook was ejected after Tanner English led off the fifth inning with a base hit and was called out at second after a Marcus Mooney ground ball. A TV replay showed English just barely beat the throw, but he was called out by umpire Todd Henderson. Holbrook argued the call and was eventually thrown out of the game.

"The call didn't go our way," said 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."

Kentucky starting pitcher Chandler Shepherd improved to 5-0 on the year with the win. He allowed one run on six hits in 7.1 innings with four walks and six strikeouts. South Carolina left-hander Jack Wynkoop suffered his first loss of the season dropping to 4-1 on the year after striking out nine and giving up just five hits.

"We have to win some games on offense sometimes," said Holbrook. "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."

The series concludes on Sunday at 1 p.m.