Spartanburg, S.C. – Erik Samples went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and earned his first career save to lead USC Upstate to an 8-6 victory over No. 25 Kentucky Monday afternoon from Harley Park.
Samples came on in the ninth and retired the Wildcats in order to help Upstate post its first win over a school from the Southeastern Conference since a 1-0 victory over Tennessee in 2009.
Junior Tresco Shannon (1-) earned the win in relief after limiting Kentucky to just one run on four hits in three innings of work. Zach Mitchell pitched two innings of relief and allowed just two hits. Robert Zeigler (0-1) gave up three runs on one hit in 0.1 innings and suffered the loss. Kentucky starter Dylan Dwyer lasted three innings and allowed four runs on four hits.
Kentucky (2-2) took control early and scored four runs in the first two innings to jump out to an early lead. Kyle Barrett opened the game with a single to left field and later came around to score on an A.J. Reed sacrifice fly.
Michael Thomas started the second inning with a single through the right side and moved to third three batters later on back-to-back wild pitches. After a walk to Barrett, Austin Cousino doubled down the left field line to plate both Thomas and Barrett. Max Kuhn accounted for the final run of the inning when his single up the middle brought home Cousino to put Kentucky ahead 4-0.
Upstate (2-2) erupted for four runs in the bottom of the third inning to pull even with the Wildcats. Justin Allen led off the inning with a single up the middle and moved to second on a walk to AJ Mackey. Daniel Fickas followed with a bunt single to the pitcher, but an errant throw from Dwyer allowed Allen to score and both Mackey and Fickas to move up one base. Samples picked up his first RBI of the game thereafter with a single through the left side to drive in Mackey.
The Spartans loaded the bases in the following at-bat when Tyler Lesch was hit by a pitch, and Luke Weber laced a single to center that allowed Fickas to trot home from third. Zach Krider capped the scoring for Upstate when his fielder's choice brought Samples in with the fourth run.
Upstate took the lead in the fifth inning when Seeba drove home Weber, who had doubled earlier, from second with a single to right field. Kentucky answered with a run in its half of the sixth inning on a ground out by Cousino.
Samples struck again in the bottom of the sixth and put Upstate ahead for good when his two-run double to left scored Mackey and Fickas to give Upstate a 7-5 lead. Samples scored the final run of the inning when he raced home on a sac fly from Lesch.
Upstate returns to action Tuesday at 4 p.m. when the Spartans welcome The Citadel to Harley Park.