Ray’s walkoff homer lifts UK over LSU 11-9

May 14, 2010
Ninth inning

RHP Braden Kapteyn took over on the mound for UK and walked the first batter he faced, Austin NolaAlex Edward bunted Nola to second. Leon Landry singled to left-center, putting runners on the corners. Matt Gaudet flied to short right-center, with Nola trying to tag and score. CF Keenan Wiley fired a strike to C Marcus Nidiffer, though, and Nola was out with room to spare. LSU brought in closer Matty Ott, a right-hander who leads the SEC with 11 saves, and Johnny Dishon came in to play LF. Brian Adams led off with a double down the third-base line, continuing to third when Dishon misplayed the ball. Adams scored when Chris Bisson grounded out to first. Chad Wright and Gunner Glad each walked, putting the potential tying and game-winning runs on base. Neiko Johnson came in to run for Glad. Lance Ray worked the count to 3-1, then uncorked his second homer of the night and 10th of the year — a walkoff, three-run homer. FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 11, LSU 9.

Eighth inning

LSU went down in order. Kentucky RH Walter Wijas got the first two batters, with LH Mike Kaczmarek coming out of the bullpen to get the final out. Wijas worked 4 1/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball, striking out three and walking one. UK went down in order for a third consecutive inning. After eight innings: LSU 9, Kentucky 7.

Seventh inning

LSU’s Tyler Hanover reached on a two-out throwing error by SS Taylor Black, the Wildcats’ fourth error of the night. Hanover was stranded when Mike Mahtook grounded to third. LSU’s Paul Bertuccini set UK down in order for the second inning in a row. After seven innings: LSU 9, Kentucky 7.

Sixth inning

LSU’s Micah Gibbs knocked a one-out double to the right-field corner and Blake Dean followed with a walk. 3B Andy Burns robbed Austin Nola of a hit, diving towards second base to stab Nola’s liner for the second out. Burns then charged Alex Edward’s high hopper and threw him out at first, stranding two runners. Kentucky went down in order. After six innings: LSU 9, Kentucky 7.

Fifth inning
Walter Wijas

Walter Wijas

LSU’s Matt Gaudet reached on a one-out fielding error by 3B Andy Burns, then stole second. Kentucky RHP Walter Wijas struck out Tyler Hanover and got Mikie Mahtook to line out to Burns. For the Wildcats, Chad Wright lined a one-out single to center and stole second, his 12th swipe of the season in 15 attempts. Gunner Glad drew a walk, sending the LSU bullpen into action. Lance Ray worked the count full, then walked to load the bases. Marcus Nidiffer took three straight balls, then a strike. He ripped the next pitch out of the park — but foul down the left-field line. On the 3-2 pitch, Nidiffer took high and inside for an RBI-walk. That knocked out RHP Anthony Ranaudo as Coach Paul Mainieri summoned RH Paul Bertuccini.  Glad scored on Andy Burns’ fielder’s choice-grounder, with Nidiffer forced out at second. Keenan Wiley’s bloop single to left scored Ray and advanced Burns to third, cutting LSU’s lead to 9-7. A wild pitch enabled Wiley to take second. Taylor Black grounded out to first. After five innings: LSU 9, Kentucky 7.

Fourth inning
Blake Dean

Blake Dean

Andy Burns

Andy Burns

With one out, LSU’s Trey Watkins beat out a Baltimore-chop single to third base — a safe call that UK Coach Gary Henderson disputed. Micah Gibbs singled through the right side, putting runners on the corners. Blake Dean poked a high-arcing home run to the deck in right-center, his 10th of the year. That increased LSU’s lead to 9-3 and knocked out LHP Taylor Rogers. Henderson brought in RH Walter Wijas. Wijas struck out Austin Nola and retired Alex Edward on a comebacker to the mound. For UK, Andy Burns lined a one-out single up the middle, nearly nailing RH Anthony Ranaudo in the leg. Burns took second on a wild pitch, third on Keenan Wiley’s groundout. Burns scored on another wild pitch, although making an ill-advised head-first slide at the plate. Taylor Black singled, but was stranded with RF Mikie Mahtook made a diving catch of Brian Adams’ liner. After four innings: LSU 9, Kentucky 4.

Third inning
Alex Edward

Alex Edward

With one out, LSU got consecutive singles by Blake Dean, Austin Nola and Alex Edward, the latter driving in a run. Nola and Edwards advanced on a wild pitch, and Leon Landry was hit by a breaking ball to load the bases. Matt Gaudet, who homered in his first at-bat, hit a sacrifice fly to right. Edward went from second to third on the play, and continued home when cutoff man Taylor Black was unable to handle the throw from RF Chad Wright. That also enabled Landry to move up to second. Tyler Hanover flied to left, ending the top of the inning. Kentucky went down in order. After three innings: LSU 6, Kentucky 3.

Second inning
Matt Gaudet

Matt Gaudet

LSU came back in a hurry. Leon Landry laced a one-out single. Matt Gaudet jumped on a 3-0 pitch, knocking it to the parking lot beyond the right-field wall. His 15th homer of the season tied the game at 3. Tyler Hanover reached on a throwing error by 3B Andy Burns. Wildcats LHP Taylor Rogers struck out Mike Mahtook and got Trey Watkins on a deep fly to right. Keenan Wiley led off UK’s half of the inning with a sharp single to left on a full-count pitch. Taylor Black reached on a force play. As Brian Adams struck out, Black stole second. He was stranded, though, when Chris Bisson struck out. After two innings: Kentucky 3, LSU 3.

First inning
Lance Ray

Lance Ray

Micah Gibbs

Micah Gibbs

LSU’s Mike Mahtook singled on the first pitch of the game. He was retired, though, on a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double play – Trey Watkins whiffing and 2B Chris Bisson applying the tag on Mahtook after a perfect throw from C Marcus Nidiffer. The Tigers did strike, though, as No. 3 batter Michah Gibbs drove a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left. In the bottom of the inning, Chad Wright reached on a one-out throwing error by 2B Tyler Hanover. Gunner Glad singled up the middle, putting runners on the corners. Lance Ray, jumping on a 1-0 pitch, smashed a three-run homer just to the right of the batter’s eye in center. One out later, Andy Burns singled. He was caught trying to steal, on a pitchout. At the end of one inning: Kentucky 3, LSU 1.

Pre-game

LSU visits Kentucky to open a three-game baseball series at Cliff Hagan Stadium, Friday at 6:30 p.m.

UK (26-23 overall, 9-15 SEC) is 10th in the SEC heading into the second-to-last weekend of league play. Only the top eight teams will qualify for the SEC Tournament. UK sits a game behind Alabama and another game back of eighth-place Tennessee.

LSU (34-15, 12-12) is seventh, but has lost nine of its last 11 games. The Tigers are defending NCAA champions.

Starting lineups
Anthony Ranaudo

Anthony Ranaudo

Taylor Rogers

Taylor Rogers

LSU — Mikie Mahtook RF; Trey Watkins LF; Micah Gibbs C; Blake Dean 1B; Austin Nola SS; Alex Edward 3B; Leon Landry CF; Matt Gaudet DH; Tyler Hanover 2B. Pitching: RH Anthony Ranaudo (2-2, 8.26).

KENTUCKY — Chris Bisson 2B; Chad Wright RF; Gunner Glad 1B; Lance Ray DH; Marcus Nidiffer C; Andy Burns 3B; Keenan Wiley CF; Taylor Black SS; Brian Adams LF. Pitching: LH Taylor Rogers (4-7, 5.59).

UMPIRES — Todd Henderson HP; Scott Erby 1B; Larry Short 3B.

Weather — 78 degrees, wind 8 mph WSW.