Baseball Completes Sweep of UK, 9-8; Leads SEC West

LSU's Matt Clark hit the game-winning home run
LSU's Matt Clark hit the game-winning home run (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- First baseman Matt Clark unloaded a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning Sunday to lift LSU to a 9-8 victory over No. 16 Kentucky in Cliff Hagan Stadium.
LSU (32-16-1, 12-11-1 SEC), which trailed 8-3 through five innings, completed a sweep of the SEC series with its sixth straight league win and its ninth consecutive victory overall.
LSU, which swept South Carolina last weekend in Baton Rouge, recorded back-to-back SEC sweeps for the first time since 1998, when the Tigers won six in a row over Arkansas and Kentucky.
Kentucky dropped to 34-14 overall and 11-13 in league play with Sunday's loss.
"Once again, our team didn't flinch in the face of a deficit," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "This is a very resilient group of players performing with a high level of confidence and that was demonstrated again today against a great Kentucky club. Throughout the weekend, we received great efforts from so many players. These were true team victories in which everyone on our club made important contributions. I think we're at a point now where everyone knows what their role on the team is, and our players are excelling in those roles."
LSU opened the scoring in the top of the first when third baseman Michael Hollander led off the game with a double and scored on designated hitter Blake Dean's double to left-center field.
Kentucky with responded with two runs in the bottom of the first as designated hitter Sawyer Caroll doubled and scored on third baseman Chris McClendon's single, and McClendon scored when LSU leftfielder Jared Mitchell misplayed second baseman Ryan Wilkes' fly ball.
The Tigers tied the game 2-2 in the third when Hollander lined a one-out single and scored on Dean's two-out double down the right-field line.
LSU led 3-2 in the fourth when second baseman Ryan Schimpf singled to score first baseman Matt Clark, who had led off the inning with a double.
Kentucky rebounded to take a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth as centerfielder Collin Cowgill and Carroll contributed RBI singles.
The Wildcats erupted for four runs in the fifth on the strength of two home runs -- a three-run blast by leftfielder Keenan Wiley and a solo shot by rightfielder Bryan Rose.
LSU narrowed the game to 8-5 in the sixth when Schimpf lifted a two-run double to left-center field.
The TIgers scored two more runs in the eighth as Clark launched an RBI double and Schimpf picked up his fourth RBI of the game on a fielder's choice grounder.
As LSU fought its way back to within one run of the Wildcats, reliever Daniel Bradshaw was magnificent on the mound for the Tigers. Entering the game in the fifth after Rose's home run, Bradshaw silenced the Kentucky bats, allowing just one hit with no walks and four strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work.
Bradshaw's effort set the stage for the Tigers' final rally in the top of the ninth. Kentucky reliever Andrew Albers retired Dean and catcher Micah Gibbs on fly balls to right field to open the inning, but rightfielder Derek Helenihi drew a walk to keep LSU's hope alive.
Clark then launched Albers' first pitch over the right-center field wall, giving the Tigers a 9-8 lead. The dinger was the 17th of the season for Clark, who was 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles, one homer, three RBI and three runs.
LSU reliever Jared Bradford blanked the Wildcats in the ninth to earn his third save of the year and his second in the series. Bradford pitched in all three games of the series, earning a relief win in Game 1 and posting saves in Games 2 and 3.
Bradshaw (4-5) was credited with the victory as he fired 3.1 shutout innings, allowing just one hit with no walks and four strikeouts.
Albers (6-3) was charged with the loss as he surrendered four runs -- two earned -- on five hits in 2.2 innings with one walk and three strikeouts.

SEC Baseball Standings

Eastern Division
1. Georgia, 17-6-1
2. Vanderbilt, 14-9
3. Florida, 13-11
3. South Carolina, 13-11
5. Kentucky, 11-13
6. Tennessee, 11-13

Western Division
1. LSU, 12-11-1
2. Alabama, 12-12
2. Ole Miss, 12-12
4. Arkansas, 10-13
5. Auburn, 10-14
6. Mississippi St., 7-17

This Week's Schedule

May 6 (Tuesday)
Wright State at Kentucky
Mississippi State at MTSU
Vanderbilt vs. Memphis (Jackson, Tenn.)

May 7 (Wednesday)
Bethune-Cookman at Florida
Georgia Tech at Georgia
Mississippi State at MTSU
South Carolina at Wofford
Belmont at Tennessee
Tennessee Tech at Vanderbilt

May 9 (Friday)
Florida at Alabama
South Carolina at Arkansas
Auburn at Ole Miss
Georgia at Vanderbilt
Kentucky at Tennessee
Mississippi State at LSU

May 10 (Saturday)
Florida at Alabama
South Carolina at Arkansas
Auburn at Ole Miss
Georgia at Vanderbilt
Kentucky at Tennessee
Mississippi State at LSU

May 11 (Sunday)
Florida at Alabama
South Carolina at Arkansas
Auburn at Ole Miss
Georgia at Vanderbilt
Kentucky at Tennessee
Mississippi State at LSU




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