RecapThings started out in a positive direction for the Cats. Tristan Pompey singled and Evan White reached on an error to leadoff the game. After Zach Reks bunted the runners over, Luke Becker grounded out to short to score Kentucky's only run of the game. South Carolina looked to answer in the bottom of the first as they put runners on the corners with two outs, but Justin Lewis shut the door with a huge strikeout to end the frame. Lewis paced UK today on the mound. His changeup and slider were excellent as he hit mid-90s on his fastball. He retired the Gamecocks in order in the second and third while striking out three in a row. On a day that there weren't many positives, Lewis shined. Lewis competed harder than anyone has in this tournament and if not for him, this could have been a whole lot worse. Kentucky's offense never could get out of their own way in the middle innings. Becker and Zeke Lewis were both picked off of first base with no outs in an inning. The Cats went 0-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base in today's loss. On defense, the Cats committed three fielding errors and allowed a runner to reach on a dropped third strike. [caption id="attachment_219857" align="aligncenter" width="818"] UK Athletics[/caption] Despite much help from his offense, Lewis cruised into the sixth inning. The redshirt sophomore carried a no-hitter 5.1 innings into the game before Justin Row singled for USC's first hit. After throwing three pitches to the next batter, Lewis was removed mid at-bat. It was a strange moment as Lewis had only thrown 87 pitches and had a pitcher's count on the batter. Logan Salow entered and retired the final two batters to preserve the lead, It was in the seventh when USC finally broke through. Pinch hitter TJ Hopkins lifted a three-run home run to left over the head of Reks to give USC a 3-1. It had been a long time coming. UK's offense could never give their pitchers any insurance and it cost them late. The Cats' pitching allowed only two hits in the loss. Unfortunately for UK, one of them was the three-run home run by Hopkins.
Kentucky's final opportunity to score came in the eighth inning. Reks and Becker both collected singles with one out. Mahan sent a ball to the warning track that was reeled in for the second out. Mingione and Chad Holbrook played cat and mouse with righties and lefties when UK put two men in scoring position. After Luke Heyer stepped out as a pinch hitter, Holbrook went to a righty out of the pen. Mingione then used T.J Collett as a pinch hitter for a lefty-righty matchup. A .095 hitter, Collett bounced out to second to end the top of the eighth. UK would get the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but USC stomped out yet another rally as Tristan Pompey bounced out to first to end the game.
"I’ve never been part of a game where you give up two hits and you lose. It’s unbelievable." - Kentucky head coach Nick Mingione– John Whittle (@johnmwhittle) May 27, 2017