Homers in 9th, 11th Pace Baseball to Series Win at No. 1 LSU
The series win marks Kentucky's second all-time series win at LSU and UK's first since 2007. UK entered the weekend having had only seven wins in program history in Baton Rouge and the Tigers owning a seven-game winning streak in Alex Box vs. the Wildcats. UK posted a 6-5 win in the opener in 12 innings, before LSU had an inside-the-park homer in the eighth inning to win the second game, 7-3.
Kentucky (18-10, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) jumped out to an early lead on the strength of a four-run frame in the second that saw the Wildcats chase LSU's undefeated starting pitcher. The Tigers then chipped away with two runs in the third and hung a four-run inning in the fifth, getting a pair of homers. LSU added two runs in the seventh inning, before the Wildcats mounted a furious rally with a run in the seventh and four runs in the eighth inning to take a one-run lead.
The Tigers then plated two runs after a pair of leadoff hits started the bottom of the eighth inning, taking a 10-9 lead into the ninth.
Down to its last out, freshman pinch hitter Riley Mahan dropped a sinking liner into shallow leftfield, with leftfielder Jared Foster diving to try to make the play. The ball rolled to the wall, with shortstop Alex Bregman running to the wall and unable to field and make the throw in time to nail the tying run, with Mahan sliding in headfirst under the tag.
After scoreless frames in the bottom of the ninth and the 10th inning, Fettes pulled his third homer of the year over the leftfield fence, giving UK an 11-10 lead. Marcus Carson then laid down a bunt single and Kyle Barrett was intentionally walked. After Evan White struck out, Ka'ai Tom singled up the middle, allowing Carson to motor home from second for a 12-10 UK lead.
The Wildcats collected 19 hits in the game, getting the first career home run from junior Dorian Hairston, part of a two-hit game. Tom and Thomas Bernal also charted multi-hit games, with Zach Arnold and Connor Heady adding knocks. White had a career-high four hits and extended his hitting streak to a team-leading 11 games. Mahan's inside-the-park homer was his first career home run. Carson tied his career high with three hits. Fettes belted his third homer of the year and his first since a two-homer day on to open the 2015 season.
UK starter Kyle Cody allowed eight hits and six runs -- five earned -- not issuing a walk and striking out three. Cody was dominating until a bad-hop double and his throwing error in the third inning led to the two-run frame. After a shutout fourth, the Tigers had four consecutive hitters reach in the fifth, including two homers and a triple. Dylan Dwyer relieved Cody and worked 1.1 innings, allowing a hit and walk, striking out one. Robert Zeigler took over with an out in the seventh inning, getting one out and allowing an unearned run. Zach Strecker got out of the seventh and allowed three hits in the eighth before UK turned to Spencer Jack (1-0), with two runs scoring. Jack worked the final 3.2 innings in heroic fashion, allowing only a hit, walking two and striking out three.
LSU (23-5, 5-4 SEC) starter Jake Godfrey worked 1.2 innings, allowing six hits and four runs, walking one and striking out two. After allowing five hits in the second inning, LSU turned to sophomore righty Hunter Newman in relief. Newman worked 2.1 innings to carry the game to the fifth, allowing just two hits and striking out three. Austin Bain started the fifth inning worked 2.2 innings, allowing two hits and one run, walking one and striking out one. Collin Strall got the Tigers out of the seventh inning in relief of Bain allowing three hits and getting an out. Lefty Zac Person appeared in his third consecutive game in the series, allowing two runs. Alden Cartwright got the final two outs of the eighth inning. Parker Bugg (0-1) came on to get the final three outs, allowing the one run on the homer, in the ninth inning. Bugg suffered the loss, allowing five hits and three runs in his 2.2 innings of work. Doug Norman also worked in relief in the 11th.
UK will return to action on Tuesday, playing host to No. 24 Indiana at 4 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats got on the board in the top of the second inning, starting with the first career dinger from Hairston, coming on the first pitch of the inning and ripped over the 405-foot sign in centerfield. Bernal and Arnold then pounced on the first pitch of their at-bats, collecting hits, before Carson laid down a perfect one-strike bunt to load the bases. Heady followed with a five-pitch walk to force in a run, before Barrett hung a sacrifice fly to leftfield to score a run. After a pair of outs, Tom singled up the middle to score UK's fourth run of the game.
LSU took advantage of some good fortune in the bottom of the third inning, which started with a Chris Chinea double cranked off the wall in rightfield. After a pair of outs, Cody induced a grounder to first base, with the ball taking a wicked hop over White's head -- a similar play to Tom's game-winning double in the 12th inning in the opener -- allowing Chinea to score. Cody then got Laird to ground out softly back to the mound, with Cody's off-balance throw allowing Jake Fraley to score and Mark Laird to take third.
The Tigers continued the rally in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking a 5-4 lead. Chris Sciambra led off by getting hit on a 1-2 offering from Cody. Foster followed and smashed a no-doubt homer off the videoboard in leftfield, tying the game. Kramer Robertson tripled off the wall in leftfield, scoring on an error. After a pair of outs, Conner Hale drilled a solo homer over the left-field fence.
UK got a run back in the top of the seventh inning as White led off with an infield single, taking second on a wild pitch and moving to third on Tom's groundout. Shelby then doubled into the left-centerfield gap, scoring White from third.
Dwyer walked the leadoff hitter, Kramer Robertson, who took second on a sac bunt to start the seventh. After Zeigler struck out Bregman for the second out, he got Hale to hit a grounder in the hole on the right side. Shelby dove to corral the ball, with his throw from a knee sailing to the LSU dugout, allowing Robertson to score, with the official scorer giving Hale an RBI on the infield hit that allowed Robertson to score from second base. Kade Scivicque then doubled into the gap, scoring Hale.
UK rallied in the top of the eighth inning to take a one-run lead. Carson led off with a single and Heady smashed a double down the leftfield line. After Barrett loaded the bases with an HBP, White smashed a two-RBI single down the rightfield line, making it 8-7. Tom then beat out the back end of a double play to force in the tying run. After Tom stole third base with one out, Hairston grounded into a fielder's choice to force in the go-ahead run.
LSU scored twice in the bottom of the eighth, as Sciambra and Foster led off with singles and Laird singled up the middle with one out, just out of the reach of Shelby's diving glove.
GAME NOTES: Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby made his team-leading 80th consecutive start ... Junior righty Kyle Cody made his seventh start of the year and the 23rd of his career, in his 40th career appearance ... Junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett has played in a team-high 119 games and started 103 ... Junior leftfielder Ka'ai Tom stole his ninth and 10th bases of the year and has 24 in his career ... Junior catcher Zach Arnold threw out his fourth runner trying to steal in 2015 ... Junior rightfielder Dorian Hairston hit his first career home run in his 63rd career at-bat ... Barrett hung his first sacrifice fly of the year and the fifth of his career ... Sophomore Marcus Carson stole his third and fourth bases of the year and has six in his career ... Senior third baseman Thomas Bernal was hit by his 35th career pitch, passing Austin Cousino for third place in UK history ... Freshman first baseman Evan White extended his hitting streak to 11 games ... Shelby doubled for the sixth time in 2015 and the 12th time in his career ... Junior lefty Dylan Dwyer appeared in his ninth game of the year and the 37th of his career ... Sophomore right-hander Robert Zeigler appeared in his sixth game of the year and the 12th of his career ... Barrett was hit by his first pitch of the year and the seventh of his career ... Junior Zach Strecker appeared in his 12th game of the year and the team-leading 46th game of his career ... Shelby was hit by his seventh pitch of the year and the 13th of his career ... White set a new career high with four hits ... Freshman Riley Mahan hit his first career homer ... Mahan's inside-the-park homer was the first for UK since Storm Wilson at Tennessee in 2014.