Kentucky struggles in series opener against South Carolina


Kentucky junior Coltyn Kessler steps across home plate during the game against Norfolk State University on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 11-1. Photo by | Staff

Eric Decker

The road to attaining a bid in the NCAA tournament just got a little rougher after tonight.

Kentucky (27-18, 11-14 SEC) suffered a demoralizing 12-6 loss in the weekend opener with No. 20 South Carolina (29-18, 13-12 SEC).

“All the losses hurt and we didn’t do enough in this baseball game to win,” head coach Nick Mingione said after the game. “The Walks. . . HBPs. . . just not enough.”

It didn’t take too long to see what direction the game was heading in. Cole Stupp didn’t get to 20 pitches before he surrendered four runs on five hits in the first inning. Oraj Anu and Coltyn Kessler provided three runs for the ‘Cats in the third with a pair of RBI doubles in what was the closest they ever got in the ball game.

Saying that Stupp had mixed results would be underselling it to an extent. Despite striking out eight in only four innings of work, including the first seven outs of the game, Stupp allowed seven earned runs on nine hits. His ERA on the season now sits a touch under five.

The ‘Cats staged their faux comeback attempt with a three run showing in the seventh to cut the lead down to four for the moment. Anu had a two RBI single in the inning to put him at three for the day.

Kentucky will be back out against the Gamecocks tomorrow for the middle game of the series, while doing senior day ceremonies before the game.

First pitch is set for 2 p.m. and will be shown on SEC Network Plus and the ESPN app.