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South Carolina Uses Small Ball to Seize Series Opener

photo by UK Athletics

Kentucky pitchers allowed 12 walks in 12-6 loss to No. 20 Gamecocks

LEXINGTON, Ky. – May 14, 2021

Known for its thump, South Carolina instead used small ball to score a 12-6 victory over Kentucky in the opening game of a critical Southeastern Conference series at Kentucky Proud Park.

The first three Gamecocks to come to the plate reached on singles, including a bloop and an infield hit, as Kentucky fell behind 4-0 before taking its first hacks of the game. Having hit 67 home runs on the season, the Gamecocks (29-18, 13-12 SEC) utilized walks and wild pitches as well, slowly taking control of the proceedings.

The Wildcats (27-18, 11-14) battled back into the game with a three-run third innings on back-to-back two-out doubles by Coltyn Kessler and Oraj Anu, giving themselves a chance by slicing the deficit to one. For Kessler, it continued a sensational season that should garner support for various all-america teams.

The momentum was short-circuited in the next half inning after the bottom two hitters in the South Carolina order reached to open the inning, eventually coming around to score as the Gamecocks answered with three runs of their own.

The Cats mounted one more surge, plating three in the seventh on a two-run single by Anu and Kessler’s hustle to score from third on a wild pitch but a strikeout and pop out left two in scoring position and ended the threat.


Top 1st – Allen singled up the middle on the game’s pitch. Eyster blooped a single to RF. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Clarke reached on an infield single, Allen scored, Eyster to third. Sightler singled to RF, Eyster scored. Wimmer tripled into the RF corner, scoring two. South Carolina 4, UK 0.

Bottom 3rd – Austin Schultz reached on a fielder’s choice and John Rhodes walked. Coltyn Kessler doubled inside the LF line, scoring Schultz and Rhodes. Oraj Anu hit a ground rule double to CF, scoring Kessler. South Carolina 4, UK 3.

Top 4th – Milone singled to LF and Callil walked to open the inning. Allen singled up the middle, Milone scored, Callil to third, Allen to second. Clarke walked intentionally to load the bases. Mendham hit a SAC fly to LF, Callil scored. Sightler hit a ground rule double to LCF, Allen scored. South Carolina 7, UK 3.

Top 5th – Milone walked and Callil reached on a fielder’s choice. Both runners moved up on back-to-back wild pitches, Milone scored, Callil to third. Allen walked. Callil scored on a wild pitch, Allen to second. Allen stole third and scored on Clarke’s groundout. South Carolina 10, UK 3.

Bottom 7th – T.J. Collett singled and Rhodes singled through the left side. Kessler walked to load the bases. Anu singled through the right side, scoring Collett and Rhodes, Kessler to third. Ryan Ritter hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kessler scored on a wild pitch, Anu and Ritter moved up. South Carolina 10, UK 6.

Top 8th – Milone walked, Callil was hit by a pitch and Eyster walked. Clarke walked, Milone scored. South Carolina 11, UK 6.

Top 9th – Wimmer homered the LF. Carolina 12, UK 6.


  • UK is 27-18 overall, 11-14 in SEC play.
  • The Cats are 21-11 at Kentucky Proud Park this season.
  • The Cats are 4-11 vs. ranked teams.
  • Kentucky has scored in 52 consecutive games and 237 of 239 in the Nick Mingione era.
  • The Cats are 68-of-73 on stolen base attempts this season.
    • UK’s .932 success rate is the highest of any team with 50 or more stolen bases.
  • Junior IF/OF Austin Schultz went 1-for-5 with a run.
    • Schultz has reached base safely in 95 of 103 career games with a plate appearance.
    • He has recorded a hit in 79 of those 103 games.
    • Schultz now has 122 career hits, moving him past Taylor Black (2010-11) and Marcus Nidiffer (2007-10) into 42nd place on the school’s all-time list.
  • Senior C Coltyn Kessler went 1-for-3 with two runs, two RBI, two walks and a double.
    • Kessler has reached safely in 31 of his past 33 games.
    • Kessler has a 10-game hit streak and a hit in 13 of past 14 games.
  • Senior OF Oraj Anu went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI.
    • Anu has a hit in 15 of the past 17 games.
    • The three RBI tied his career high.
  • Senior 1B T.J. Collett went 1-for-5 with a run.
    • Collett has reached base safely in 20 of his past 21 games.
    • Collett now has 154 career hits, moving him past Thomas McCarthy (2011-12) and Braden Kapteyn (2009-11) into 29th place on the school’s all-time list.
  • Sophomore OF John Rhodes went 1-for-3 with two runs and two walks.
    • Has reached safely in 10 straight games and 18 of last 19 overall.
    • He has drawn a walk and/or been hit by a pitch in 29 games this season.
  • Sophomore RHP Cole Stupp recorded his first seven outs via strikeout.


Kentucky hosts No. 20 South Carolina again on Saturday at Kentucky Proud Park. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. ET on the SEC Network Plus. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.

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