Views of a closer's traditional role in baseball have gradually shifted in recent years.
Kentucky demonstrated that on Sunday at South Carolina, calling on left-handed relief star Logan Salow to put out a fire in the fifth inning of the Wildcats' rubber match with the Gamecocks.
The win helped UK move into a tie with Mississippi State for the overall lead in the SEC.
A junior from Ashland, Ky., Salow (2-3) worked the final 4.2 innings, allowing no hits, one walk, and striking out 10 of the 15 batters he faced. In doing so, he lowered his season ERA to a remarkable 0.46.
Kentucky (31-14, 14-7 SEC) put together a 13-hit performance a day after being shut down by the South Carolina staff in a 5-1 loss. Zach Reks and Tyler Marshall each collected three hits for the Cats with Marshall driving in a pair of runs. Tristan Pompey added two hits and drove in three runs, while Riley Mahan and Evan White each homered.
Sophomore right-hander Justin Lewis started for the Cats, allowing four runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings on the mound.
No. 21 South Carolina (25-17, 10-11 SEC) got home runs from Ross Grosvenor and John Jones, but could not muster any consistent offensive threats against the UK hurlers.
John Parke started for the Gamecocks, allowing four runs on five hits over 3.1 innings. Tyler Johnson (0-1) took the loss out of the USC bullpen, allowing three runs in the decisive eighth inning.
Kentucky returns to action Friday, May 5, when it opens a three-game series against Georgia at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington.
- White now has 202 career hits, tying him with Antone DeJesus (2005-07) for 15th on UK’s all-time career hit list.
- Pompey now has hit safely in 31 of his past 34 games.
- Senior outfielder Marcus Carson was hit by a pitch for the 16th time this season.