Scout/Jeff Drummond

Evan White drives in four as Kentucky Wildcats top South Carolina Gamecocks in SEC Tournament

Cats advance to face winner of LSU-Missouri matchup in third round.

Evan White broke open a close game with a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning Wednesday to spark Kentucky to a 7-2 win over South Carolina in the Wildcats' opening game of the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

With UK leading 3-2 and the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, White drove a pitch from South Carolina's John Parke deep into the right-centerfield gap to give the Cats some much-needed breathing room against the Gamecocks. 

"Just a really good swing by a really good player," South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook said of White, who led the SEC's top hitting team with a .385 batting average this season.

White also had a run-scoring groundout in the third inning to give him four RBI on the day. 

From there, the bullpen combo of Ross Logue and Chris Machamer capped six innings of scoreless relief to send the No. 8 Kentucky (39-18) into the third round against the winner of the LSU-Missouri matchup. 

"I thought the story of the day, obviously, was Evan's double, but I thought our bullpen did awesome," UK coach Nick Mingione said. "They went six innings, three hits, didn't walk a guy, five punchouts... just really proud of the job that Zach Logue (7-5) and Chris Machamer did."

Junior left-hander Brad Schaenzer started for UK, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks over three innings before turning it over to the bullpen. The Cats managed to get through their opening game without using either of their top starters, Sean Hjelle and Justin Lewis, or closer Logan Salow. 

South Carolina (33-24) held a 2-0 lead early in the game, but the Gamecocks hurt themselves badly with four errors. Freshman right-hander Cody Morris (3-2) took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk over 3.2 innings of work. 

"Obviously, you're not going to beat Kentucky when you make four errors," Holbrook said. "You can't give them free chances, they just keep coming at you."

Kole Cottam also struck a big blow for the Cats, hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning to break a 2-2 tie. 

NOTES: 

  • Kentucky’s 39 wins on the season are the most since the 2012 team won a school-record 45. It’s also the sixth most in school history.
  • This is UK’s first win in the SEC Tournament since 2014.
  • Cottam now has nine hits in the past four games.
  • Machamer earned his first career save with three innings of work

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