May 20, 2005
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina broke a 7-7 tie with two eighth inning runs aided by two hit batters that resulted in Kentucky coach John Cohen being ejected to defeat the Wildcats 9-7 in the opener of a three game series that will end the Southeastern Conference regular season.
The Gamecocks, fighting for a spot in the eight team SEC tournament that begins Wednesday in Hoover, Ala., evened their conference record at 14-14 and are 35-19 overall. South Carolina began the final series in a three way tie for sixth place in the overall SEC standings. Kentucky, in last place, fell to 29-25 overall, 7-20 in league play.
After Kentucky scored twice in the top of the eighth South Carolina countered with two in the bottom of the inning. Davy Gregg singled and raced all the way to third on a high bounce infield single to deep second base by Michael Campbell. Brock Baber replaced Kentucky pitcher Craig Snipp and Gregg scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Steven Tolleson.
Steve Pearce and Chris Brown were hit by pitches to load the bases and plate umpire Ken Couch issued a warning to Baber after the second hit batter. After a lengthy argument over the warning Couch ejected Coach Cohen. Tolleson, who had advanced to third on the two hit batters, scored on a sacrifice fly by Cory Vanderhook.
Brent Marsh, 3-2, who pitched the final 1 1/3 innings for South Carolina, was credited with the win despite giving up four hits. Snipp, 4-5, was charged with the loss. Senior right-hander Aaron Rawl pitched the first 6 1/3 innings for South Carolina and left with a 7-5 lead. Only two of the five runs were earned. Rawl was going for his 35th career victory.
Kentucky took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on three hits, including a double by Michael Bertram, but South Carolina scored four in the bottom of the inning on four hits, the big blow being a three run home run by Neil Giesler, his fourth of the season.
Kentucky scored two unearned runs on one hit, an error, a walk and a stolen base in the fourth inning, and Billy Grace hit his eight home run of the season in the seventh for the fifth Kentucky run after South Carolina had scored single runs in the fifth and sixth.
The Wildcats tied it at 7-7 with two runs in the top of the eighth on four hits. Jason Fletcher, who replaced Rawl in the seventh inning, allowed two hits and was charged with both runs, the final two hits of the inning allowed by Marsh.
Kentucky threatened in the top of the ninth with two one out hits but Marsh retired Collin Cowgill on a fly to left field and struck out Ryan Wilkes to end the game.
Kentucky out hit South Carolina with 16 hits to 12. Grace, Bertram, J. P. Lowen, and Shaun Lehmann had three hits apiece. Grace and Wilkes had two runs batted in.
Four hits by Winn led the South Carolina offence and he drove in two runs. Gregg and Steve Pearce had two hits. Tolleson and Giesler had three RBI and Winn had two.
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