Kentucky Rallies For 15-12 Win Over Gamecocks
April 22, 2006
Lexington, Ky. - The 21st ranked Kentucky Wildcats rallied from six runs down and behind a three-run homer by Ryan Strieby in the eighth inning defeated seventh ranked South Carolina 15-12 in the second of a three-game SEC baseball series. Kentucky improves to 29-10 and 10-7 in the SEC while the loss drops the Gamecocks to 30-10 and 11-6 in the conference.
The final three runs scored in the eighth inning were unearned and followed up the Gamecocks' fourth error of the game. With the scored deadlocked at 12-12 in the eighth inning, a runner on first base and two outs, South Carolina reliever Andrew Cruse appeared to get out of the frame when Collin Cowgill popped a fly ball to short right center. Cowgill would reach base though, as the ball went off of second baseman Andrew Crisp's glove to put runners on second and third base. That set the stage for Strieby, who launched a three-run homer to left center giving the Wildcats a three-run lead that they would not relinquish.
Cruse suffered the loss for Carolina and is now 4-2 on the year. He went 1.2 innings and allowed four runs, one earned, on three hits. Kentucky reliever Troy Ragle pitched 2.1 scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win. He is 1-1 this season.
Carolina had control of the game through the middle innings and opened up a 12-6 lead scoring four runs in both the fifth and seventh innings. Justin Smoak had three RBI in both those innings on a two-run double and a solo homer. Crisp, Michael Campbell, Jon Willard and Reese Havens also added RBI hits to give the Gamecocks a six-run cushion.
Down 12-6 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Kentucky clawed back to tie the game with six runs against USC relievers Chase Tucker and Cruse. The inning opened with Mike McKinney hit by pitch and scoring on a RBI double from Sean Coughlin. After Ryan Wilkes struck out for the first Kentucky out, Justin Scutchfield colletcted a base hit to give the Wildcats runners on the corners. Tucker would then hit his second batter, Shaun Lehman, loading the bases for Antone DeJesus. DeJesus roped a single to left field scoring another Kentucky run and cutting the deficit to four runs. With Cruse in the game for USC, the Wildcats cut the USC lead to two runs on Collin Cowgill's RBI single to center field. Cruse would momentarily stop the bleeding and get the second out of the inning on a strikeout against Wildcat batter John Shelby. Pinch hitter Michael Bertram would then come up with a key two-out base hit to tie the game with a single through the left side of the infield.
South Carolina pounded out 15 hits in the loss with Crisp and Smoak leading the way with three apiece. Grinestaff, Kline and Campbell also had two hits for the Gamecocks. Smoak and Reese Havens each had three RBI as well. Matt McKinney was the lone Kentucky player to have more than one hit as he finished with two on the evening. Kentucky finished with 12 hits on the afternoon.
Five different South Carolina pitchers combined to allow 15 runs, 10 earned on 11 hits. USC also issued 11 walks and hit two batters. Kentucky starting pitcher Craig Snipp only lasted four innings and allowed eight runs, five earned on 10 hits with one strikeout and one walk. Both teams each committed four errors. The four errors were the most that South Carolina has committed this season.
Both teams conclude the series on Sunday afternoon with first pitch set for 1 pm ET. Sophomore right-hander Harris Honeycutt (3-0, 1.95 ERA) goes to the mound for the Gamecocks with Kentucky sending sophomore right-hander Greg Dombrowski (6-1, 1.86 ERA) on the hill for the Wildcats.