CatsIllustrated - Gamecocks jump on Cats early, take Game 1
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Gamecocks jump on Cats early, take Game 1

South Carolina left fielder Noah Myers played a tricky bounce in left field during the Gamecocks' 12-6 win over the Wildcats on Friday night at Kentucky Proud Park.
South Carolina left fielder Noah Myers played a tricky bounce in left field during the Gamecocks' 12-6 win over the Wildcats on Friday night at Kentucky Proud Park. (Jeff Drummond/Cats Illustrated)

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- South Carolina wasted no time in jumping on the Wildcats in the opening game of a critical series on Friday night at Kentucky Proud Park.

The No. 20 Gamecocks raced to a 4-0 lead against UK ace Cole Stupp with a barrage of five hits in the top of the first inning. South Carolina (29-18, 13-12 SEC) collected seven more hits and drew 13 walks en route to a 12-6 victory.

Brady Allen, Josiah Sightler, and Braylen Wimmer each recorded three hits to lead the Gamecocks. Wimmer had a double, a triple, and a home run -- three of South Carolina's four extra-base hits -- in narrowly missing a cycle. He and Wes Clarke drove in three runs apiece.

Brannon Jordan (5-4) battled through five innings to earn the win. The senior right-hander allowed three runs on five hits and four walks but never surrendered the lead. Three Gamecock relievers combined to work the final four innings with Julian Bosnic picking up his third save of the year by striking out four of the nine batters he faced.

It was a rough outing for UK's Stupp (4-5) who gave up seven runs on nine hits and three walks over four innings on the mound. Eight of the 12 outs he recorded were via strikeout.

Oraj Anu and Chase Estep each had two hits to lead the Cats. Anu also drove in three runs. Coltyn Kessler had a hit, two walks, and drove in a pair of runs.

Kentucky (27-18, 11-14 SEC) desperately needs a series victory to remain in the mix for an NCAA Tournament bid. The Wildcats have been listed among the "first four out" bubble teams in several national projections.

The series resumes on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.