Inside-the-Park Homer Lifts No. 1 LSU to Series-Evening Win
BATON ROUGE, La. -- An inside-the-park home run in the eighth inning highlighted a five-run frame that broke open a tie game and lifted the No. 1 LSU Tigers to a 7-3 win over Kentucky, in front of 11,516 on a pleasant Saturday night at Alex Box Stadium.
A night after battling the top-ranked Tigers in a 6-5, 12-inning win, Kentucky (17-9, 3-4 Southeastern Conference) found itself in a pitching duel with Lange, the Tigers freshman ace righty. LSU opened the scoring with an unearned run in the fourth, before UK rallied to plate the tying run in the sixth on a Marcus Carson RBI hit. LSU immediately got the run back in the bottom of the frame to take a one-run lead, before a two-out hit from Greg Fettes tied the game in the top of the eighth.
The Tigers rallied to win the game in the eighth inning, as Kade Scivicque ripped a liner into shallow centerfield, with Kyle Barrett trying to make a diving grab for the out with runners on the corners and one out. The ball skidded under his glove, rolling to the wall in centerfield, where it was logged in the base of the wall and rightfielder Marcus Carson immediately signaled ground-rule double. The umpire crew chief ran out to get the ball out of the wall, immediately signaling a ground-rule double after dislodging the ball from the wall. After a lengthy umpire conference, it was changed to an inside-the-park three-run home run. Chris Sciambra singled and then Jared Foster belted his sixth homer of the year, making it 7-2.
UK starter Dustin Beggs (3-2) worked his fourth quality start of the year. Beggs worked seven innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, not issuing a walk and striking out five. Senior Andrew Nelson took over to start the bottom of the eighth inning, getting an out before a bloop single ended his outing in favor of lefty Logan Salow, who allowed three consecutive hits to end his outing. Taylor Martin came on to replace Salow, allowing the two-run homer.
The Wildcats got a career-high tying three hits from Carson, a native of London, Ky., and the clutch hit from Fettes in the eighth. UK also got a three-hit game from Barrett - the SEC hits leader - with Evan White, Dorian Hairston, JaVon Shelby and Riley Mahan also charting hits. White extended his hitting streak to 10 games, with Barrett stretching his streak to nine games.
LSU's (22-5, 5-3 SEC) Lange worked seven innings, allowing only six hits and one run, walking five and striking out 13. The Tigers then turned to lefty Zac Person to start the eighth inning with Lange at 117 pitches. Person (1-0) earned the win, working one inning, allowing three hits and one run. Alden Cartwright worked the ninth inning.
The series will conclude on Sunday at 12 p.m. ET at Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers got on the board first, breaking a scoreless game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Scivicque led off with a two-base error after a throw sailed into the rightfield bleachers, taking second on a groundout and scoring on a deep sacrifice fly from Chinea.
The Wildcats got the run back in the top of the sixth inning, evening the game at 1-1. Storm Wilson started the inning by taking a four-pitch walk. On a pitch to Carson that sailed in the dirt and was scored a passed ball, Wilson scampered to scoring position. Carson then smashed a RBI single down the leftfield line, scoring Wilson.
LSU immediately answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the sixth. Conner Hale led off the frame by painting the leftfield line with a double. Beggs then induced a grounder on the left side, with the play going as an error that allowed Scivicque to reach and Hale to take third. UK then turned a double play, with Hale scoring on the play.
After getting Lange out of the game to start the eighth, the Wildcats tied the game in the top of the frame. Hairston led off with a single, taking second on Carson's third hit of the game. After Thomas Bernal came off the bench to pinch hit and a fielder's choice put runners on the corners with two outs, Fettes smashed a RBI single to centerfield, scoring Hairston and evening the game at 2-2.
Barrett doubled to leadoff the ninth inning, scoring on Shelby's two-out RBI double down the rightfield line.
GAME NOTES: Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby made his team-leading 79th consecutive start ... Junior righty Dustin Beggs made his seventh start of the year ... Junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett appeared in his team-leading 118th career games, making his club-best 102nd start ... Junior leftfielder Ka'ai Tom stole his eighth base of the year and the 22nd of his career ... Barrett stole his seventh base of the year and the 21st of his career ... Sophomore rightfielder Marcus Carson collected his first multi-hit game of the year and the fourth of his career, tying his career high with three hits ... Freshman first baseman Evan White extended his hitting streak to a club-high 10 games, reaching in 12 straight ... Barrett extended his hitting streak to nine games and has reached in 12 straight ... UK is now 7-10 vs. No. 1 ranked teams since 2003 and 7-8 in the Gary Henderson era ... LSU leads the all-time series, 47-26-1, including a 27-8-1 all-time record in Baton Rouge ... UK is now 4-7 vs. top-25 foes ... UK is 13-6 when facing a right-handed starting pitcher ... UK is 11-7 in March, 6-3 on Saturdays and 3-8 on the road.