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Baseball: USC stifles Kentucky surge to win first SEC series

South Carolina survived a potential Kentucky comeback in the ninth inning to win its series against the wildcats Sunday in Lexington.

With USC leading 4-2, Kentucky (16-9, 4-5 SEC) loaded the bases with no outs but right-hander Blake Cooper, en route to the first complete game by a Gamecock this year, struck out Chris Bisson then pitched Chris Wade into a sacrifice fly and Chris McClendon into a ground out to end the game.

Cooper improves to 4-2. He struck out five Sunday and allowed eight hits. He walked four.

South Carolina put in three runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie. Whit Merrifield knocked in a RBI double and Nick Ebert hit single good for two runs.

The victory marked the Gamecocks' (18-7, 4-5 SEC) first SEC series win of the season.

Next up for South Carolina: A 7 p.m. start against The Citadel at Joe Riley Park in Charleston.

-- From staff reports

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