The Bat Cats continue to shoot themselves in the foot down the stretch of the regular season. Desperately in need of a series victory over a ranked opponent, they fell 9-0 today to the Gamecocks and have already lost the series after also losing yesterday, 12-6.
Quite a depressing day at Kentucky Proud Park with Kentucky getting blown-out in a near must-win game for their NCAA Tournament hopes, but here’s how it went down:
Kentucky’s Sean Harney started on the mound and allowed a run in the first but otherwise, both starting pitchers held their ground throughout the first half of the game.
?? CAUTION: Harney at Work ??@Harney17 strikes out the side, freezing a pair in the process! He has five strikeouts through three.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) May 15, 2021
The game stayed at a manageable 1-0 until the top of the fifth, where Harney sent three straight batters to first on a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch. The next man up grounded out but South Carolina got a man home to up the lead to two runs and Harney’s day was over after that.
Daniel Harper entered at the mound and actually saved the ‘Cats from further damage with the bases loaded. After five and a half, UK was only down two. However, they did nothing with their turn in the fifth and the train derailed for Kentucky in the top of the sixth.
Harper loaded the bases after four batters and then gave up a grand glam to hitter no. 5 of the inning, extending South Carolina’s lead to 6-0. At this point, a comeback felt like a grim possibility.
No surprise, Kentucky didn’t threaten the scoreboard in any of their final four innings at the plate and ended the game without scoring a run, which is putrid, especially when you consider that an NCAA Tournament appearance was very much at stake.
Carolina added another run in the 8th and two more for good measure in the 9th to finish off a dominant 9-0 win.
Kentucky had three ranked opponents in the last three weekends — Florida, Tennessee and South Carolina — and probably needed to win one of them to feel good about a tournament appearance. With today’s loss, they’ll have lost all three.
They did take a game off both Tennessee and Florida and could come out and respond positively with a victory tomorrow. But in baseball, you have to get those series wins to really make a difference and the ‘Cats just haven’t done it.
Oh well. They’ll be back in action tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Kentucky Proud Park trying to avoid the sweep.