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Sean Hjelle, prolific offense give No. 9 UK 14-1 win over South Carolina

Troy Squires celebrates his grand slam home run. (Photo by Quinn Foster I UK Athletics)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sean Hjelle continued his mastery of South Carolina and the Kentucky offense erupted as the No. 9 Wildcats rode big performances up and down the roster for a 14-1 series-opening victory at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Friday night.

Hjelle was lights out from the start, ultimately giving up just an unearned run in 7.0 innings of work while striking out eight and walking none. Coupled with his start in Columbia last season the junior right-hander has not given up an earned run in 13.0 innings in two career starts vs. the Gamecocks, walking just one and striking out 14 in those games.

 

The UK offense got it going early, scoring three runs in the second inning and another four in the third. A five-run sixth inning capped by senior Troy Squires’ grand slam gave the Cats their highest run total in an SEC game this season and most since scoring 14 against Indiana in last season’s NCAA Regional.

 

It was a record-setting night for the Cats: Squires (five RBI), junior Tristan Pompey (five RBI), sophomore T.J. Collett (four walks) and junior Trey Dawson (four runs, two RBI and two steals) all set new marks. Collett became just the second Wildcat in nine years to draw four walks in a game, matching the four teammate Alex Rodriguez had against Xavier last month.

 

Hjelle and Squires both reached significant milestones as well. Hjelle picked up his 20th career victory to move into seventh on UK’s career list, while Squires’ grand slam also made him just the 52nd member of the school’s 100-hit club for their career. Squires also moved into second on the career sacrifice bunt list with 28.

 

The Cats and Gamecocks will meet again on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. The game will air on the SEC Network and Darren Headrick will have the radio call on 630 AM WLAP.

 

 

 

SCORING

Bottom 2nd – Luke Heyer and T.J. Collett walked. Alex Rodriguez moved both runners over with a SAC bunt. Trey Dawson reached on an infield single, scoring Heyer and moving Collett to third. Tristan Pompey singled up the middle, scoring Collett. Dawson and Pompey pulled off a double steal, Dawson scored on throwing error by the catcher. UK 3, SCAR 0.

 

Bottom 3rd – Luke Becker, Heyer and Collett walked to load the bases. Dawson walked to score Becker. Pompey doubled off the RF wall, scoring Heyer, Collett and Dawson. UK 7, SCAR 0.

 

Bottom 5th – Dawson singled and stole second. Troy Squires singled to SS with Dawson scoring from second. UK 8, SCAR 0.

 

Bottom 6th – Kole Cottam singled and Collett walked. Rodriguez reached on a fielder’s choice, moving Cottam to third. Dawson walked to load the bases. Pompey walked to score Cottam. Squires hit a grand slam to RF. UK 13, SCAR 0.

 

Top 7th – LT Tolbert singled and moved to second on a throwing error. Jonah Bride singled, moving Tolbert to third. Matt Williams singled to CF, scoring Tolbert. UK 13, SCAR 1.

 

Bottom 7th – Heyer homered to CF. UK 14, SCAR 1.

 

 

NOTES

  • The UK offense…

o   Now has 126 extra-base hits on the season.

o   Had 11 walks on the night, the second-highest total this season (14, vs. Oakland).

 

  • Several Cats extended impressive reached base safely streaks…

o   Junior OF Tristan Pompey has reached in 59 of the past 62 games.

o   Senior INF Luke Becker has reached in all 30 games.

o   Senior C/1B Troy Squires has reached in 29 of 30 games this season.

o   Junior OF Ben Aklinski has reached in 24 of the last 25 games.

 

  • Junior RHP Sean Hjelle earned the win with 7.0 innings, five hits, one run, no walks and eight strikeouts.

o   In two career starts vs. South Carolina he is 2-0 with 13.0 IP, eight hits, one run (none earned), one walk and 14 K’s.

o   Hjelle now has 20 career wins, moving him into a tie for 7th on UK’s career list, joining three other Cats.

 

  • Senior C/1B Troy Squires

o   Squires became the 52nd member of the 100-hit club at UK with his sixth inning grand slam.

o   His first inning SAC bunt was the 28th of his career, moving him into a tie with Keenan Wiley (2008-11) for 2nd on UK’s all-time list.

 

  • Junior OF Tristan Pompey

o   With his three hits, Pompey has moved into 25th on UK’s all-time career hits list with 162.

o   Pompey tied his career high with five RBI.

o   Pompey now has eight multi-hit games this season and 42 for his career.

o   He has five multi-RBI games this season and 25 for his career.

 

  • Junior INF Trey Dawson

o   Dawson recorded his first career multi-RBI game.

o   Stole two bases after entering the game with a total of three on the season.

o   Scored a career-high four runs.

 

  • Junior OF Ben Aklinski extended his career-long hitting streak to seven games with a single in the fifth inning.

 

  • Junior C/1B Kole Cottam extended his career-long hitting streak to seven games with a single in the sixth inning.

 

  • Sophomore DH T.J. Collett drew four walks in the game.

o   Collett becomes just the second Wildcat to draw four walks in a game in the past nine seasons. Alex Rodriguez drew four against Xavier on March 20, matching the total by Andy Burns vs. Tennessee on May 3, 2009.

 

 

ON DECK

The Cats and Gamecocks will meet again on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. The game will air on the SEC Network and Darren Headrick will have the radio call on 630 AM WLAP.

 

3 comments

  1. That was a “wood shed” whooping

    1. That ballpark has to be the coldest place in the Commonwealth ! It wasn’t really that bad in the “normal” setting but in the Cliff it was frigid.

    2. This team has a lot of potential. I hope they keep it rolling. They need to win some SEC series on the road.

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