Mahan, Becker Power No. 10 Kentucky to Win in Opener
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Riley Mahan had a career-high five hits and Luke Becker hit a pair of home runs, including a seventh-inning grand slam to power No. 10 Kentucky past No. 8 LSU, 12-5, in game one of a Friday doubleheader at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats (27-12, 11-5 SEC) maintained their two-game lead in the SEC East, jumping to an early lead on the Tigers (26-13, 9-7) and adding on throughout the game. Due to forecasts for wet weather on Saturday, the teams will play a second game Friday evening.
Mahan, whose previous high had been three hits, was locked in all afternoon, notching two doubles and driving in three runs. Becker entered as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning and hit a solo home run onto the deck in right-centerfield to give UK a 6-2 lead. Becker added a grand slam in the seventh, blasting a line drive over the centerfield wall for his first career two-homer game.
Starter Sean Hjelle worked his sixth quality start of the season, going six innings, allowing three runs on five hits. The sophomore right-hander moved to 6-2 on the season.
Bottom 1st – Evan White doubled to LF. Zach Reks lined a single to RF, moving White to third. Kole Cottam drove in White with an RBI groundout, moving Reks to second on the play. Riley Mahan lined a single to LF to score Reks. UK 2, LSU 0.
Top 2nd – Greg Deichmann doubled off the LF wall. Nick Coomes doubled into the RF corner, scoring Diechmann. Josh Smith double to RCF, scoring Coomes. UK 2, LSU 2.
Bottom 3rd – White dropped a push bunt for a single. Kole Cottam walked, moving White to second. Mahan doubled off the RF wall to score White, Cottam advanced to third. Tyler Marshall singles up the middle, scoring Cottam and Mahan. UK 5, LSU 2.
Bottom 5th – Luke Becker hit a pinch-hit home run onto the deck in RCF. UK 6, LSU 2.
Bottom 6th – White reached on a fielder’s choice and Reks walked. Mahan lined a single to RF for his career-high fourth hit of the day, scoring White. UK 7, LSU 2.
Top 7th – Kramer Robertson walked. Cole Freeman doubled off the LF wall, scoring Robertson. UK 7, LSU 3.
Bottom 7th – Marcus Carson singled to CF. Tristan Pompey and Zach Reks walked. Becker crushed a two-out grand slam to CF, scoring Carson, Pompey and Reks. UK 11, LSU 3.
Top 8th – Coomes and Smith walked. Pinch hitter Jake Slaughter was hit by a pitch. Antoine Duplantis hit a SAC fly to CF, scoring Coomes. UK 11, LSU 4.
Bottom 8th – Carson singled to RF, advanced to second on a caught stealing of Marshall and to third on Heady’s groundout. Pompey drove in Carson with a single up the middle. UK 12, LSU 4.
Top 9th – Deichmann homered to RCF. UK 12, LSU 5.
• The Cats are now 18-2 at home this season.
• UK is 13-8 vs. ranked foes this season, including 2-1 vs. Top 10 teams.
• Junior 1B Evan White went 2-for-6 with a double and three runs scored.
o White now has 192 career hits, good for 17th on UK’s all-time career hit list.
o White has a hit in 15 of his last 16 games.
o White now has 13 multi-hit games this season and 57 for his career.
• Sophomore OF Tristan Pompey went 2-for-4 with a run, RBI and two walks.
o Pompey now has hit safely in 26 of his past 28 games.
o Pompey is currently riding a career-long 10-game hitting streak.
o Pompey has 15 multi-hit games this season and 22 for his career.
• Junior IF Riley Mahan went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a run and three RBI.
o Mahan now has 135 hits in his career, moving him past Max Kuhn (2012-14) and into 32nd on UK’s all-time career hits list.
o The five hits are a career-high for Mahan.
o Mahan has 17 multi-hit games this season and 34 for his career.
o Mahan has 17 doubles this season, the second most in the SEC.
• Junior IF Luke Becker 2-for-3 with a solo HR and a grand slam for a five-RBI game.
o It was Becker’s second pinch-hit home run of the season. The other came at Mississippi State on April 9.
o Becker’s grand slam was the second of the season for UK. T.J. Collett blasted a pinch-hit slam against Ole Miss on March 23.
o The two blasts gave Becker his first career multi-homer game.
• Senior OF Zach Reks went 2-for-3 with two runs and two walks.
o It was Reks’ 16th multi-hit performance of the season and 27th of his career.
• Senior OF Marcus Carson was hit by his team-leading 12th and 13th pitches of the season.
o He has 20 in his career.
o The 13 this season rank tied for 13th on the single-season list.
o His two hits gave him the 14th multi-hit game of the season and 21st of his career.
Kentucky will try to sweep the Friday doubleheader against the Tigers. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Fans can listen on the UK Sports Network via UKathletics.com and iHeart Radio, as well as on 630 AM WLAP, and watch on the SEC Network+.
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