Baseball Runs Winning Streak to Eight, Sweeps DH
LSU Sports Interactive
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- LSU pounded out 13 hits in the nightcap -- including home runs by centerfielder Jared Mitchell and first baseman Sean Ochinko -- as the Tigers completed a sweep of their SEC doubleheader Saturday with a 12-5 victory over No. 16 Kentucky.
LSU struck for two runs in the top of the 10th inning of Game 1 to break a 1-1 tie and post a 3-1 victory over the Wildcats.
LSU (31-16-1, 11-11-1 SEC) has won eight straight games, including five in a row in the SEC. Kentucky fell to 34-13 overall and 11-12 in the conference with Saturday's losses.
The Tigers' series win in Lexington marks their first SEC series victory on the road this season.
"I'm so proud of our players for accomplishing something that rarely happens in this league -- a doubleheader sweep on the road," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Kentucky had lost only two games in this stadium all year, so it's a tribute to our players to come here and win two today.
"I've maintained all along that we have great kids who are talented and work hard, and now we're beginning to see our team play at its best. Tomorrow is another big day -- we have to continue to play with confidence and make good things happen."
The teams conclude the series at 1 p.m. ET Sunday. The game will be televised by Cox Sports Television (Cable Ch. 37 in Baton Rouge), and it can be heard on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.
Live audio and stats are available in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.
The Tigers raced to a 3-0 lead in the first inning of Game 2 as catcher Micah Gibbs delivered an RBI groundout and leftfielder Blake Dean and shorstop DJ LeMahieu each contributed run-scoring singles.
LSU extended the advantage to 6-0 in the second as Mitchell launched his fourth homer of the year to lead off the inning, third baseman Michael Hollander lined an RBI double, and Gibbs added a run-scoring single.
Second baseman Chris McGhee's RBI grounder in the third gave the Tigers a 7-0 advantage.
Kentucky, however, struck back in the bottom of the third against LSU starter Blake Martin as second baseman Ryan Wilkes ripped an RBI double and first baseman Brian Spear launched a two-run homer, his seventh of the season.
LSU responded with two runs in the fourth when Ochinko unloaded a two-run blast, his third of the season.
Kentucky narrowed the deficit to 9-5 in the bottom of the fourth on leftfielder Keenan Wiley's two-run single.
The Tigers again answered with a run in the fifth, as Mitchell was hit by a pitch, stole second base, moved to third on a throwing error by catcher Tyler Howe and scored on a wild pitch by UK reliever Mike Kaczmarek.
Rightfielder Derek Helenihi's two-run triple in the seventh accounted for the final margin.
Martin (3-3) earned the win as he worked five innings, allowing five runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Kentucky starter James Paxton (3-3) was charged with the loss after leaving the game in the first inning. Paxton allowed one unearned run while recording one walk and no strikeouts.
LSU reliever Jared Bradford, the winning pitcher in Game 1 of the doubleheader, picked up his second save of the year in Game 2 as he blanked the Wildcats over the final four innings. Bradford allowed two hits in the nightcap with no walks and four strikeouts.
Hollander's RBI double in the top of the 10th inning of Game 1 broke a 1-1 tie and lifted LSU to a 3-1 victory.
Kentucky reliever Scott Green struck out the first two LSU batters in the 10th; however, McGhee singled, stole second base and scored on Hollander's double to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Helenihi's single scored Hollander to give LSU a two-run advantage.
Bradford, who entered the game in the ninth inning in relief of starter Ryan Verdugo, pitched a perfect 10th to secure the win and improve his record to 8-4.
Green (5-3) was charged with the loss as he surrendered two runs on three hits in one inning with no walks and three strikeouts.
Kentucky took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Verdugo threw wildly to first on designated hitter Bryan Rose's sacrifice bunt, allowing leftfielder Keenan Wiley to score from second base.
LSU tied the game in the sixth as McGhee singled and moved to second on Hollander's single. McGhee and Hollander executed a double steal, and McGhee scored from third base on Dean's groundout to second.
Verdugo and UK starter Chris Rusin engaged in a magnificent pitchers' duel through the first eight innings. Verdugo worked eight innings, limiting the Wildcats to one unearned run on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Rusin allowed just one run on five hits in 8.2 innings with two walks and five strikeouts.