LEXINGTON — Strong pitching from a pair of former area high school aces led No. 27 Kentucky to a series-clinching 2-1 win over No. 1 South Carolina on a sun-kissed afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Saturday.
Lawrence County graduate Chandler Shepherd worked into the eighth inning and Ashland grad Logan Salow collected his first save as a Wildcat by enticing a groundout to end the game.
Michael Thomas belted his second home run in as many days for the Wildcats (17-6, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) to help them to only the third three-game series win against a No.1 ranked team in the history of the program.
UK has won series against the nation's top-ranked team in 1991 (vs. LSU), 2012 (vs. LSU) and in 2013 (vs. South Carolina). In addition, UK posted an 8-3 win over No. 1 Virginia in the season opener on Feb. 14 in Wilmington, N.C.
In UK head coach Gary Henderson's tenure, the Wildcats have six wins over No. 1 ranked teams, claiming one vs. No. 1 Vanderbilt in 2011, the series win over No. 1 LSU in 2012 and the three wins over top-ranked teams in 2014.
UK posted a 13-5 win over South Carolina to open the series on Friday, before using a second-inning homer from Thomas and a two-out RBI single from Max Kuhn in the third for the difference on Saturday.
A native of Louisa, Shepherd (5-0) worked 7.1 innings, allowing six hits and one run, walking four and striking out six. Shepherd exited with one out in the eighth inning with UK holding a 2-0 lead and two runners on base, with UK allowing just the one run to score. Shepherd has now worked four consecutive quality starts and owns five in his three-year career. Over his last four starts, he has a 4-0 record and a 0.90 ERA, allowing three earned runs in 30 innings, striking out 25.