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May 4, 2007

Box Score

Columbia, S.C. – Travis Jones tied a season-high with four hits including his 14th home run and Justin Smoak hit his 15th home run of the season as South Carolina defeated Kentucky 8-1 on Friday evening in game one of a three-game SEC series. Junior left-handed pitcher Arik Hempy struck out 10 batters in six innings to earn the win and did not allow an earned run to improve to 5-1 on the year. South Carolina is now 34-13 and 12-10 in the SEC while the loss drops Kentucky to 30-14-1 and 9-12-1.

Jones’ four hits were among 12 for the Gamecocks in the evening. Smoak, James Darnell and Steven Reinhold added two hits as well. The Wildcats had just three hits against the Gamecock pitchers with Antone DeJesus leading the way with a pair of base hits. Senior relief pitcher Jeff Jeffords worked two perfect innings after Hempy. Will Atwood and Curtis Johnson closed the game out in the ninth inning. Kentucky starting pitcher Chris Rusin suffered the loss and is 4-3 on the year. He worked five-plus innings and allowed seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits.

South Carolina went ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Travis Jones got things started with a leadoff double and scored on a one-out double from James Darnell. Jones’ double was his 10th of the year with Darnell tallying his sixth double of the season.

Jones increased the Gamecock lead to 2-0 in the third inning with his second hit of the game, a solo home run to right field. It was his 14th homer of the year. Kentucky cut its deficit to one run in the top of the fourth inning with an unearned run against Hempy. Mike Brown hit a leadoff double and advanced to third base on a passed ball to catcher Trent Kline. Brown would score on a sacrifice fly from Brian Spear to left field. Jones would drive in his second run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning with a RBI single to score Steven Reinhold and increase the Gamecock lead back to two runs.

With a 3-1 lead, Carolina opened it up in the sixth inning with five runs against the Wildcats. Steven Reinhold had a leadoff single and advanced to second base as Rusin threw high to second base on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Reese Havens giving the Gamecocks a pair of runners with no outs. The bases would then be loaded as Jones collected his fourth hit of the game a bunt base hit down the third base line. Rusin would last only one more batter as he walked Kline with the bases still loaded to plate Reinhold. Kentucky reliever Darren Oxford would face one hitter then for the Wildcats as James Darnell hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Havens. Gamecock first baseman Justin Smoak then greeted reliever James Paxton as he launched a three-run homer to left center field to give Carolina an 8-1 lead. It marked Smoak’s 15th home run of the year that ties him for the team lead with Darnell.

Both teams will meet on Saturday with game two of the series scheduled for 6 pm at Sarge Frye Field. Live audio broadcast and gametracker stats available at with the game also on the Gamecock Radio Network.