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May 8, 2016

Box Score

LEXINGTON, KY. – Dorian Hairston’s solo homer in the bottom of the 12th inning lifted Kentucky to a 5-4 win over second-ranked South Carolina in the rubber game of a three-game SEC baseball series at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Gamecocks are now 36-11 and tied for first in the SEC with a 16-7 conference mark. Kentucky is 29-19 and 13-11 in league play.

Kentucky reliever Sean Hjelle earned the win with four scoreless innings of relief. He is 4-0 on the year. South Carolina right-hander Tyler Johnson suffered the loss and is 1-2 for the season. He allowed one run on two hits in three innings of relief.

The Gamecocks out-hit Kentucky 14-5 in the loss. Madison Stokes and Dom Thompson-Williams each had three hits with Gene Cone, Alex Destino and Marcus Mooney with two apiece as well.

Kentucky went ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the third inning on JaVon Shelby’s two-out two-run homer. Zack Reks reached base with one out on a walk. After Hill struck out Riley Mahan for the second out, Shelby launched a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall for his 11th homer of the year. The home run was only the second allowed this year by Hill.

Both teams traded runs in the fourth inning. Madison Stokes led off with a double to the gap in left-center for Carolina and scored on Marcus Mooney’s two-out RBI double down the third base line. Dustin Becker would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a single down the left field line and scored with one out on a wild pitch issued by Hill to give Kentucky a 3-1 lead.

An unearned run in the top of the sixth inning would cut Carolina’s deficit to a run. LT Tolbert led off the frame with a walk. With one out, Tolbert advanced to third as Kentucky third baseman JaVon Shelby threw wide trying to force Tolbert at second base. Tolbert scored on Gene Cone’s sacrifice fly to left-center.

Jonah Bride tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the seventh inning with a two-out solo homer, his second of the season. After Kentucky went to the bullpen for right-hander Zach Strecker, Bride belted a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right field to tie the game up.

Each team scored a run in the eighth inning. DC Arendas led off the eighth for the Gamecocks with a single to center field. He would be sacrificed over by Marcus Mooney and scored on Dom Thompson-Williams’ two-out RBI single to center field. The Wildcats tied the game at 4-4 with one out on a solo homer by Zach Reks that just cleared the fence in right field.

South Carolina threatened with runners on the corners and no outs in the 11th but Hjelle worked out of the jam with strikeouts of Destino, Chris Cullen and Stokes to keep the game knotted up.

It remained 4-4 until the bottom of the 12th when Hairston ended the game as he lifted a 2-1 pitch over the right field wall.

Hairston’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th inning.

South Carolina left 15 on base in the contest.

Dom Thompson-Williams owns the longest current hitting streak for the Gamecocks at seven. He finished 3-for-6 at the plate and leads the team with 16 stolen bases.

Stokes’ three hits were a career-high.

South Carolina starter Adam Hill allowed three runs on two hits with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings of work.

Head Coach Chad Holbrook

Our kids played hard. I haven’t seen many games where you out-hit the opponent 14-5 and find a way to lose a game. It’s difficult to take in that regard. We have to have guys step up with people on base, we had the game in our hands and we couldn’t have a couple of quality at bats with runners in scoring position. I guess we left 15 on base. When you get opportunities to win on the road in this league you have to take advantage of those opportunities. We didn’t. When you have guys on third with nobody out and you don’t get them in, it’s tough to win like that. It’s a difficult loss to take. We will try to bounce back on the way home and get ready to play Tuesday.

South Carolina returns home to begin a five-game homestand on Tuesday night hosting Presbyterian. First pitch at Founders Park is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”