Kentucky Offense Breaks Out in 10-3 Win Over No. 5 LSU
Lexington, (Ky.) – Kentucky’s combination of Craig Snipp and Aaron Tennyson held No. 5 LSU to just three runs on nine hits as the Wildcats beat the Tigers, 10-3, on Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Caleb Stewart and Joe Naill each hit three-run home runs in the win.
The bomb was the Stewart’s team-leading ninth of the season, while Naill’s was the first of his career at UK. With the win the Wildcats improved to 21-23 on the season, including 6-16 in the Southeastern Conference. Five of UK’s six SEC wins have come against teams ranked in the top ten.
Snipp (2-6) threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits, to pick up his second win of the season. Tennyson allowed one earned run over the final 3 2/3 innings to pick up his first career save.
“Craig Snipp is a guy that missed all of last year with arm surgery, and he’s really coming around in his last few appearances,” said UK head coach John Cohen. “He really competes on the mound and gave us a great effort tonight.”
The offense provided Snipp and Tennyson with plenty of support, scoring three times in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings. Casey Gilvin delivered a two-run single in the fourth and later scored on Justin Scutchfield’s sacrifice fly, giving Kentucky a 4-0 lead.
LSU scored twice in the top of the sixth on three consecutive hits to cut the UK lead to 4-2, Stewart unloaded on a huge blast, deep over the wall in left-center field to make it a 7-2 score. Naill and Spencer Graeter scored in front of Stewart on the homer.
Naill finished the Tigers off in the bottom of the eighth, as he took LSU reliever Jason Determann over the wall in left to score Gilvin and John Shelby and put the Wildcats on top, 10-2. LSU scored a harmless run in the bottom of the ninth to provide the final margin.
“We’ve been struggling some on offense of late,” said Cohen. “But we battled tonight at the plate and some of the balls that we hit hard found a hole for us. I’m very pleased with the effort we got on both sides tonight.”
The Kentucky defense was stellar, turning four double plays in the game. Naill started a slick 6-4-3 double play in the sixth to end the inning and bail Tennyson out of a two base-runner jam. After LSU had scored a run in the ninth and had a runner with no outs, third baseman Jake Kungl ranged to his left to pick off a ground ball and turn the 5-4-3, killing any Tiger rally.
“A good team is going to hit into some double plays because they hit the ball right on the screws, and that’s what LSU did tonight,” said Cohen. “Our defense came up with some great plays to keep them from mounting many scoring opportunities.”
The two teams continue the series on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. (ET). UK will go in search of its third conference series win of the season, which would eclipse last year’s total of two. The Cats will send senior right-hander Seth Stanley (5-2) to the mound. He will be opposed by Justin Meier (5-2). All the action can be heard live on 96.1 FM in Lexington. Live audio and stats are available at www.ukathletics.com, as well as live video for users with “Extreme Access.”