By Tim Letcher
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior right-hander Dustin Beggs pitched a three-hit, complete game shutout as the 28th-ranked Kentucky baseball team blanked No. 2 South Carolina 6-0 on Saturday night, May 7, in Southeastern Conference action at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Beggs (pictured) did not allow a hit in the game until South Carolina’s Dom Thompson-Williams singled in the top of the sixth inning. Prior to that, Beggs (8-1) had retired 16 Gamecock hitters in a row after running into a bit of trouble in the first inning. In addition to the three hits, Beggs gave up just one walk and struck out seven, throwing 117 pitches in the game.
The complete game shutout was the first by a Kentucky pitcher since Zack Brown blanked Missouri on May 14 of last season. It was also the second career complete game for Beggs, who pitched a seven-inning complete game against Arkansas on April 23 of this year.
Beggs became the first Kentucky pitcher to shut out a ranked opponent since Alex Meyer blanked top-ranked Vanderbilt on May 6, 2011 at the Cliff.
As they did on Friday night, Kentucky (28-19, 12-11 SEC) got on the board first. In the bottom of the second inning, Luke Becker laced a double to left-center field with one out in the frame. Dorian Hairston followed with a single through the right side to make it 1-0 Kentucky. Tyler Marshall then reached on a fielder’s choice before Tristan Pompey walked. With two outs, freshman catcher Kole Cottam doubled to the right-center field gap to score Marshall and Pompey, giving the Cats a 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats added a run in the fourth inning with help from South Carolina starter Braden Webb (9-3). Becker led off the inning with a single up the middle, then advanced to second, third and eventually scored on three successive wild pitches by Webb to give Kentucky a 4-0 lead.
Kentucky tallied another run in the seventh when freshman Pompey hit his fifth home run of the season, and his first since March 5, to extend the Cats’ lead to 5-0. The Wildcats added a run in the eighth to provide the final margin of victory.
Beggs also put an end to the hitting streak of South Carolina’s Gene Cone, who came into the game with at least one hit in 31 consecutive games. South Carolina (36-10, 16-6) had only one runner reach third base in the contest.
The two teams meet in the series finale on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPNU. Kentucky will have senior right-hander Kyle Cody on the mound, while South Carolina will counter with freshman righty Adam Hill.
Photo by UK Athletics