By Tiger Rag News Service
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and went on to defeat LSU, 10-2, Sunday in the rubber game of a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series.
The Wildcats (28-13 overall, 12-6 SEC) ended the weekend two games ahead of Floirda (27-15, 10-8) for first place in the SEC East. Kentucky is one game behind Mississippi State (28-14, 13-5) for the overall SEC lead.
LSU (27-14, 10-8) is three games behind Mississippi State in the SEC Western Division.
The Fighting Tigers are back in action Tuesday versus American Athletic Conference leader Tulane (20-20) in New Orleans. First pitch at Greer Field/Turchin Stadium is 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised by the CBS Sports Network.
LSU returns to SEC play against Alabama (15-25, 2-16) in a Thursday–Saturday series at Tuscaloosa.
“This is a game we’ll put behind us and move forward,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We have the same SEC record we had through 18 games a year ago and we finished strong last season, so this season is going to be defined by how we play over the next few weeks. Things can change so quickly in this league from week to week, and we still have 12 very important conference games to play, along with our three remaining non-conference games.”
Right-hander Justin Lewis (6-2) fired a complete game for Kentucky to earn the victory. Lewis allowed just one earned run on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
LSU freshman right-hander Eric Walker (5-1) suffered his first career loss, as he surrendered seven runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings with one walk and no strikeouts.
Kentucky’s first three hitters reached on base hits. Zach Reks doubled home Tyler Pompey for the first run, moving Evan White to third.
White was thrown at home by LSU third baseman Josh Smith, but Walker hit Riley Mahan to load the bases.
The Wildcats then went up 3-0 on Luke Becker’s two-run double to right center. Two batters later, Marcus Carson’s slow roller to second allowed Mahan to cross. The inning ended when Becker was tagged out attempting to steal home.
Smith’s two-out single in the second scored Zach Watson with the first LSU run. The Tigers loaded the bases in the inning, but Kramer Robertson grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Kentucky scored three runs in the third on back-to-back home runs, a two-run blast by Kole Cottam and a solo shot by Mahan.
Cottam and Mahan each drove in runs in the fourth, and Cottam scored on a ground ball by Becker.
LSU first baseman Nick Coomes launched a solo home run in the sixth, the Tigers’ second of the series.