Wildcats edge Tigers, 7-6
Kentucky touches up Aaron Nola, bullpen to take the series
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Second-ranked Kentucky erased 5-4 deficit Sunday with a three-run sixth inning and the Wildcats hung on for a 7-6 victory over top-ranked LSU at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky improved to 35-6 overall and 13-5 in the SEC. LSU is 32-9 overall and one game behind the Wildcats in the overall SEC standings with a 12-6 league mark.
LSU returns to action at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday when the Tigers play host to Southeastern Louisiana in Alex Box Stadium.
“I thought our players gave a great effort today and nearly did enough to win this series,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It was a real back-and-forth game, and we battled on every pitch. We fell just short, but I felt our players competed at a high level in a tough environment against a very good team. We can move forward and continue to play with a lot of confidence as he head down the stretch of the regular season.”
Kentucky relieve Tim Peterson (3-0) was credited with the victory as he entered the game in the sixth inning and worked 1.1 scoreless frames, allowing just one walk.
Alex Phillips earned his fourth save of the year, limiting LSU to two hits over the final two innings and allowing an unearned run.
LSU reliever Joey Bourgeois (1-2) was charged with the loss as he relieved starter Aaron Nola to begin the sixth inning and surrendered two runs on two hits in 0.1 inning.
LSU leftfielder Raph Rhymes increased his cumulative batting average to .500 (70-for-140) as he was 4-for-4 on Sunday with a double, a homer and three RBI.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a solo homer by Rhymes, his second dinger of the season.
The Wildcats struck for three runs in the third as centerfielder Austin Cousino singled and moved to third on a double by third baseman Thomas McCarthy. Both runners scored on first baseman A.J. Reed’s double, and Reed scored on a single by catcher Luke Maile.
LSU tied the game 3-3 in the fourth as Rhymes delivered an RBI single and first baseman Mason Katz, who had singled earlier in the inning, scored from third when shortstop Austin Nola grounded into a double play.
Kentucky regained the lead in the fourth when leftfielder Zac Zellers led off the fourth inning with a home run, his fifth of the season.
LSU struck for two runs in the sixth to gain a 5-4 advantage. Rhymes ripped an run-scoring double and designated hitter Jordy Snikeris produced an RBI single in the inning.
Kentucky, however, responded with three runs in the bottom of the sixth against LSU relievers Joey Bourgeois and Chris Cotton. The Wildcats lined four doubles in the inning, including run-scoring hits by second baseman J.T. Riddle, by shortstop Matt Reida and by Cousino.
LSU narrowed the deficit to 7-6 in the eighth when McCarthy misplayed an Austin Nola grounder and allowed a run to score, but Phillips ended the threat by inducing a double-play grounder off of Snikeris’ bat.
Phillips retired the Tigers in order in the ninth to preserve the UK win.
Aaron Nola pitched the first five innings for the Tigers, allowing four runs on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. UK starter Corey Littrell was charged with five runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings, and he recorded two walks and four strikeouts.
Kentucky 7, LSU 6 (Apr 22, 2012 at Lexington, Ky.)
LSU………………… 010 202 010 - 6 10 0 (32-9, 12-6 SEC)
Kentucky………… 003 103 00X - 7 11 1 (35-6, 13-5 SEC)
Pitchers: LSU - Aaron Nola; Joey Bourgeois(6); Chris Cotton(6); Nick Rumbelow(6); Kurt McCune(8)
and Ty Ross. Kentucky - Corey Littrell; Tim Peterson(6); Alex Phillips(8) and Luke Maile.
Win-Tim Peterson(3-0) Save-Alex Phillips(4) Loss-Joey Bourgeois(1-2) T-2:56 A-3086
HR LSU - Raph Rhymes (2).
HR UK - Zac Zellers (5).
Cotton faced 2 batters in the 6th.