COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Sophomore right-hander Adam Hill allowed just one run on one hit in five-plus innings of work and freshman outfielder Carlos Cortes hit his sixth homer of the year and knocked in three runs as 21st-ranked South Carolina defeated seventh-ranked Kentucky 5-1 on Saturday evening at Founders Park to even the series. The Gamecocks are 25-16 and 10-10 in the SEC with Kentucky 30-14 and 13-7 in league play.
Hill was solid all afternoon as he struck out six and walked three to earn the victory. He is now 3-3 on the year. Junior right-hander Tyler Johnson pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of relief with no walks and one strikeout to earn his seventh save of the year. Kentucky left-hander Zach Logue suffered the loss and is now 5-4 on the season. He allowed four runs, two earned, on six hits in 2.2 innings with two walks and one strikeout.
South Carolina took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Riley Hogan singled to right field and Ross Grosvenor reached on a fielding error by Kentucky shortstop Connor Heady to put runners on first and third for Madison Stokes, who knocked in the Gamecocks' first run with a single to left field.
The Gamecocks added three runs in the bottom of the third. Justin Row reached on fielding error by Kentucky third baseman Tyler Marshall to open the frame and Carlos Cortes put two on the board when he belted a homer to right field. Jonah Bride drew a walk and Jacob Olson singled to right field to give the Gamecocks runners on the corners for Grosvenor, who brought in another run with a single through the left side.
Kentucky's first hit of the game came in the top of the fourth thanks to a solo shot by Marshall, his first of the season, cutting Carolina's lead to 4-1.
Cortes earned his third RBI of the day in the bottom of the sixth inning with a double to right field to score TJ Hopkins.
Carlos Cortes' two run homer in the third inning gave the Gamecocks a two-run cushion.
South Carolina limited Kentucky to just two hits in the contest.
• Carlos Cortes recorded his sixth home run of the season with RBIs 22 and 23. All six of his homers have come in league play, and he is the only freshman in the conference to homer six or more times in SEC play.
• Cortes has also successfully reached base in eight consecutive games and owns a five-game hit streak.
•Cortes was one of three Gamecocks with a multi-hit game on Saturday. Cortes went 2-for-4 with Riley Hogan 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and TJ Hopkins going 2-for-5 with a run scored.
•Senior left-hander Josh Reagan pitched 2.1 scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts before giving the ball to Johnson to close out the game.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
"It was a big win for us - after what happened yesterday - for our kids to bounce back the way they did. They came to the park with a little bit of energy. Some of them were upset with what happened last night and it was good to see them lay it on the line a little bit. That doesn't mean it was going to go our way, but they played their tails off when things were going good and even when things weren't going good. That's what I take away from today and am most proud of, because they could have easily come to the park a little bit deflated. They didn't, and came in with a chip on their shoulder and that was good to see. Adam [Hill] was terrific for us, threw five innings, but he still didn't really have the command that he usually has. His pitch count was up and I didn't really want to get in a position where we were giving them free passes since they're such a good hitting team. We went to [Josh] Reagan, a little more of a strike thrower, and he did a good job of keeping them off balance and then Tyler [Johnson] at the end was terrific. What a great play [Madison] Stokes made there; they could have had the tying run at the plate and it was a big league play. It was one of the best plays I've seen on this field in a long time. It was a good win for us and hopefully it will give us some momentum going into tomorrow."
The Gamecocks are back in action on Sunday, April 30 for the rubber game in the three game series with Kentucky. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.