Jared Jones and Tommy White both hit grand slams to send LSU past Kentucky in SEC Tournament

LSU baseball easily beat No. 3 seed Kentucky in the second round of the SEC Tournament. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

If anyone had any doubts about LSU’s postseason hopes coming into today, the Tigers made sure to put those doubts to bed in empathic fashion.

Now, the only question that remains is can the Tigers claim their first SEC Tournament championship since 2017.

Coming into today, LSU had two grand slams all season. The Tigers doubled that total with grand slams in back-to-back innings for an 11-0 run rule win over the No. 2 team in the country, Kentucky. The win sends the Tigers to the winner’s side of the bracket and one win away from the semifinals on Saturday.

“Great win for our team against one of the best team’s in the country,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “I don’t think anyone has been more consistent than Kentucky from the start of the year until the end of the year. Our guys were ready to play.”

Luke Holman had maybe his best outing of the year to help the Tigers to the shutout win. He pitched six innings and didn’t allow a single hit or run while recording seven strikeouts. He allowed just two walks and hit one batter with a pitch before being pulled for Gavin Guidry with a 7-0 lead.

“Winning starts and ends on the mound and again for the second day in a row I believe we have one of the best pitchers in the country in Luke,” Johnson said. “He continues to prove that over and over again.”

Like it has in its last several games, LSU grabbed an early lead. Michael Braswell III led off the game with a no-doubt homer to left field to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. LSU has taken a first inning lead in each of its last four games.

LSU doubled its lead in the next inning. Ashton Larson hit a leadoff double before being brought around to third on a groundout from Alex Milazzo. Braswell grounded out again to bring Larson home and record his second RBI of the game.

After LSU grabbed the 2-0 lead, the game turned into a pitcher’s duel. Kentucky got two runners on base for the first time in the game in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to a walk and an error from Braswell, but Holman recorded a strikeout to end the threat.

The game hadn’t had a hit since the top of the second inning when LSU delivered the knockout blow in the seventh inning thanks to a pair of homers.

Milazzo and Braswell drew walks and Tommy White was intentionally walked to load up the bases for Jared Jones. Jones, who had not hit a homer in his last six games, blasted a grand slam to left field to clear the bases.

“Coach Johnson pulled me aside after my second at-bat where I struck out and just said to get back to seeing the ball and being myself,” Jones said. “That’s something I kind of lost focus of over the last couple of games.”

Travinski followed it up with his 14th homer of the season and his first since April 30th against Grambling to make it 7-0. The homers were Travinski and Jones’ first hits of the SEC Tournament.

Guidry allowed Kentucky to get its first and only hit of the game to start the bottom of the seventh before recording two straight strikeouts. He walked another batter to put two runners on but a foul out ended the danger.

White came up to bat in the eighth inning with the chance to do some damage with the bases loaded, and he took full advantage. White plastered a ball to right field for the second grand slam of the game to bring the score to 11-0.

Gavin Guidry sent the final three Kentucky batters down in order to end the game with a run rule victory.

LSU will play the winner of Arkansas and South Carolina on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The winner will secure its spot in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.

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Will Nickel

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