Gausman, Katz Key Baseball Win Over Wildcats, 12-4
BATON ROUGE -- LSU's Mason Katz delivered a career-high four hits and tied a school record with three doubles, while right-hander Kevin Gausman stymied Kentucky (20-24, 4-16 SEC) with a stellar seven-inning effort to propel the Tigers to a commanding 12-4 victory over the Wildcats Friday in Alex Box Stadium.
Game 3 will begin Saturday at 1 p.m. CDT. Live video, audio and stats can be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net. It can also be heard on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.
Katz, who finished 4-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored, recorded three doubles in a game for the 19th time in LSU history and is the first player to do so since Nick Stavinoha in 2004. However, the first baseman wasn't the only LSU batter to shine for the Tigers (27-17, 6-14 SEC) on the evening as second baseman JaCoby Jones and designated hitter Raph Rhymes each collected three hits apiece and drove in runs.
Meanwhile, Gausman (3-5) limited the Wildcats to only two hits and three walks and fanned eight en route to his first career victory in Southeastern Conference play and third overall.
"I thought we played a complete game tonight; we performed well in all phases," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Our players carried the momentum from the win last night into tonight's game, and they played with a lot of confidence. Kevin Gausman has the ability to be one of the dominant pitchers in the SEC, and he gave us the strong outing that we needed. We had some great at-bats in that five-run second inning that helped set the tone for the game."
"I told the players they can enjoy this win until midnight," Mainieri said, "then they have to move forward and get ready for what will be another very important game."
LSU scored five runs in the second inning to command an early 5-0 lead after utilizing the small-ball approach to perfection. The Tigers manufactured a pair of runs on RBI groundouts from Ross and Watkins and three more runs on a two-run single from Jones and an RBI base hit from Rhymes.
Kentucky got a run back in the top of the third to cut LSU's lead to 5-1 when left fielder Chad Wright singled home second baseman Matt Reida.
Jones notched his third RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly to put the Tigers up, 6-1, in the third frame.
The Tigers added another run in the fourth to take a 7-1 advantage when Rhymes came all the way home from first base on an airmailed pick-off attempt by Kentucky reliever Nick Kennedy and subsequent errant throw to third by first baseman Luke Maile.
LSU put the game out of reach with a four-run seventh to go up, 11-1. Rhymes and Katz each drove in runs on RBI doubles, while Watkins and Ross each provided run-scoring singles.
Kentucky pushed three runs across in the late innings, but right-hander Tyler Jones finished the Wildcats off in the ninth.
Wildcats' starter Corey Littrell (5-4) was charged with the loss as the southpaw surrendered five runs (only two earned) off four hits and three walks in 1.2 innings.
LSU 12, Kentucky 4 (Apr 29, 2011 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Kentucky............ 001 000 012 - 4 7 4 (20-24, 4-16 SEC)
LSU.................... 051 100 41X - 12 15 0 (27-17, 6-14 SEC)
Pitchers: Kentucky - Corey Littrell; Nick Kennedy(2); Walter Wijas(8) and Michael Williams.
LSU - Kevin Gausman; Joe Broussard(8); Tyler Jones(9) and Ty Ross; Jackson Slaid.
Win-Kevin Gausman(3-5) Loss-Corey Littrell(5-4) T-2:52 A-10213
Actual Attendance: 5750