LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Kentucky baseball team found the sledding tough on Saturday, falling 9-0 to No. 20 South Carolina at Kentucky Proud Park, as Brett Kerry fired a complete game shutout in his first start after being moved into the Gamecocks’ rotation.
By taking the first two games of the series South Carolina (30-18, 14-12 SEC) won a series in Lexington for the first time since 2009. It also was the first time UK (27-19, 11-15) had been shutout in 53 games and just the third time in 239 games under head coach Nick Mingione.
The Gamecocks got a run in the first and another in the fifth but UK starter Sean Harney, who also was converted from a closer role to the rotation, struck out seven and allowed just two hits to keep the Cats within striking distance. That changed in the fifth when Andrew Eyster leaned over the plate and lined a two-strike pitch on the outside corner over the right field wall for a grand slam and an insurmountable 6-0 advantage.
The Cats struggled to get anything going against Kerry, although senior T.J. Collett singled to make it 21 of the past 22 games reaching base safely and sophomore John Rhodes later logged a sun-aided double that extended his streak to 11 straight games reaching base and 19 of the past 20 overall.
The two SEC East rivals will wrap their series on Sunday afternoon with UK desperately needing a victory to keep it’s NCAA Tournament hopes alive. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. ET on SEC Network Plus.