No. 6 Kentucky scored an embarrassment of runs Friday Night against No. 21 South Carolina in the series opener at Founders Park in Columbia.
With the win 19-1 win, the largest conference margin in program history, Kentucky (30-13, 13-6) not only got another victory over a top 25 opponent, but they also ended a nine-game losing streak at USC.
The Wildcats started the scoring quite modestly in the top of the second inning. Troy Squires lead off the inning with a single and found his way to third base later in the inning thanks to a Gamecock error and a groundout. Connor Heady then singled to bring Squires home and give Kentucky a 1-0 lead.
Another throwing error and a double from hot-hitting Riley Mahan put Kentucky back in the business their next time up. With the stage set, Squires dropped one down the first base line, scoring two runs. After a Tyler Marshall single and a Marcus Carson walk, Tristan Pompey drove Mahan home with a single to complete the three-run inning and extended the lead to 4-0.
Kentucky added another run in the fourth when Evan White scored courtesy of a wild pitch, and three in the fifth when Pompey went yard to right-center field.
In the top of the sixth inning, singles by Mahan and Squires plus fielder's choice on a double play ball increased the lead to 11-0.
Connor Heady and Luke Becker each went deep in the top of the seventh, one and three-run shots respectively. Zack Reks joined in on the run parade with a RBI single to increase the deficit to 16-0.
Becker hit his second dinger in the top of the ninth to add insult to injury and hang Kentucky's 17th, 18th, and 19th runs on the board. The sophomore finished the day 2-of-3 at the plate with five RBI and three runs scored. The pair of homes also put Becker in a three-way tie for the team lead with seven on the year.
Junior Evan White went 2-of-4 at the plate to extend his current hit streak to ten games. Teammate Tristan Pompey's 4-of-5 performance extended his streak to 14 games.
Three other Wildcats (Heady, Squires, and Mahan) had multi-hit games.
Of course, the cherry on top of the sundae proved to be another dandy outing from Sean Hjelle. The sophomore threw 85 pitches in six shutout innings. Hjelle (7-2) only allowed three hits and struck out six. Brad Schaenzer and Austin Keen combined to hold the Gamecocks down for the final three innings.
The Bat Cats look to take the series later this afternoon in game two with first pitch scheduled for 4:00 PM.