On Friday night, it was Kentucky that went deep. The Wildcats used five home runs to cruise to an easy 15-3 win. They looked to be in good shape for the weekend with 6'8" right hander Scott Green on the mound Saturday against Gamecock lefty Will Atwood (2-0 in 5 appearances with 3.10 ERA). Green entered the game 2-0 in 5 starts with a 2.70 ERA and no home runs allowed, but gave up 8 runs on 9 hits with three homers Saturday. Rain fell as both teams played a scoreless first inning. A rain delayed stalled the start of the second inning for 29 minutes, but when play resumed Carolina quickly put the game out of reach.
"I'm delighted," Ray Tanner said after the game. "Yesterday we got manhandled. We were able to come out today and get some runs for Atwood and hang in there. I'm pleased with my guys coming back today. It shows a little bit of character on this team."
Harley Lail started things with a one-out walk, and scored on a double by Phil Disher. Left fielder Adam Crisp, making his first career start, singled, and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Reese Havens singled home Disher, and James Darnell hit the first of his three home runs to complete the 5 run inning.
Kentucky answered in the third inning behind a three run blast from Collin Cowgill. However, Disher and the Gamecocks came right back in the bottom of the inning with three runs of their own. Disher hit a two run homer to left, and then Havens hit a solo shot to right to keep Carolina comfortably ahead, 8-3.
"Teams are going to make some runs at you and if you can answer, you're going to stay in good shape," said Tanner. "It certainly helped Atwood [to respond with three runs]. A team like that is going to get their runs, you just have to hope that you can score too."
The Gamecocks added another run in the fourth inning, and then both teams scored two in the fifth inning. Kentucky loaded the bases with no outs, and scored on a pair of sacrifice flies. Darnell hit his second dinger of the game off the scoreboard to score both of Carolina's runs. Darnell concluded the Gamecocks' scoring with another two run blast in the seventh inning.
"They come in bunches," Darnell said. "I was just seeing the ball well. We were kind of upset about yesterday, so we just wanted to come back and get a lot of hits and get a lot of runs. It's a lot of fun when you are seeing it good and swinging it good."
Darnell's three homer game was his second of the season. He also hit three against College of Charleston on March 18. He became the first Gamecock ever to have two 3-home run games.
Atwood pitched six solid innings for Carolina. He gave up five runs on six hits, but tied a career high with seven strikeouts. He also had seven earlier this year against Vanderbilt on March 15.
"They are a great hitting club," said Atwood. "I made some good pitches today that they put some good swings on. I am very impressed with their lineup, but our guys did their jobs."
Kentucky tacked on a pair of runs in the ninth to complete the scoring.
- Since returning to the starting lineup full time on March 8 against Duquesne, Andrew Crisp has hit safely in all 17 games.
- With his home run Saturday, Disher now has 30 home runs in his career, the 22nd Gamecock to reach that milestone.
- The gamecocks have homered in 22 of 24 games this season. Their only games without home runs were the 2-1 win over Presbyterian and the 15-3 loss to Kentucky.
- The Gamecocks hit 5 home runs for the third time this season (February 23rd against East Carolina and March 18 against College of Charleston). They also matched the five homers Kentucky hit Friday night.
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