Scout/Jeff Drummond

Kentucky Wildcats put on offensive show in 19-1 rout of South Carolina Gamecocks

Nick Mingione first UK head coach to reach 30-win plateau in first season.

Kentucky unleashed a staggering offensive attack on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at No. 21 South Carolina. 

The No. 6 Wildcats collected 20 hits, drew nine walks and had four more batters reach base via either errors or being hit by pitch on their way to a 19-1 rout of the Gamecocks. UK scored runs in six consecutive innings against a South Carolina pitching staff that entered the night with the best ERA in the SEC. 

It was the most runs the Cats have scored in a league game since plating 22 in a 2009 game against Mississippi State. 

Sophomore outfielder Tristan Pompey continued his sizzling month with a 4-for-5 night that included a home run and four RBI to lead UK. Six different Cats had multi-hit games, including Pompey, Evan White, Riley Mahan, Luke Becker, Troy Squires, and Connor Heady.

Becker joined Pompey with a long ball and drove in five runs. Squires added three hits and three RBI. 

The run support was pure luxury for UK starter Sean Hjelle (7-2) who tossed six innings of three-hit, shutout baseball. The 6-foot-11 sophomore right-hander also struck out six Gamecocks. 

Will Crowe (4-4) started on the mound for South Carolina sporting an impressive 3.25 ERA, but the Cats battered him for seven runs (four earned) on 10 hits and three walks in just 4.2 innings of work. 

Kentucky (30-13, 13-6 SEC) made Nick Mingione the first coach in program history to reach the 30-win plateau in his first season with the club and pushed its lead to four games over South Carolina (24-16, 9-10 SEC) in the East Division. The Cats lead second-place Florida by two games and opened play Friday within one game of Mississippi State for the overall conference lead. 

The series resumes on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. Kentucky junior left-hander Zach Logue (5-3, 4.20 ERA) will face South Carolina sophomore right-hander Adam Hill (2-3, 2.36).

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