Logan Darnell retired Tyler Hanover on a popup to 2B Chris Bisson. CF Keenan Wiley narrowly missed colliding with LF Brian Adams to track down Trey Watkins’ fly to the gap. Austin Nola flied to Wiley in center. (0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.) FINAL SCORE: KENTUCKY 6, LSU 4.
Light rain turned into a steady rain. Mike Kaczmarek struck out Micah Gibbs, then was replaced by LH Logan Darnell, the latter’s first relief appearance of the season. Mikie Mahtook greeted Darnell with a line single to left. Leon Landry reached on a fielder’s choice and Alex Edward walked on a 3-2 pitch. Darnell struck out Matt Gaudet, stranding two runners and bringing LSU’s game total to 16 left on base. (0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 LOB.) Leadoff man Chris Bisson reached when RHP Austin Ross fielded a tapper down the first-base line and tried to lob a toss over Bisson’s head. The ball was too high for 1B Blake Dean, an error charged to Ross on the throw. Chad Wright followed with a walk, and LSU Coach Paul Mainieri yanked his starter. Ross turned the ball over to RH Paul Bertuccini. Gunner Glad bunted the runners to second and third, and Mainieri called to his bullpen for LH Zach LaSuzzo. With his first pitch, LaSuzzo hit Lance Ray. That loaded the bases, with one out, and prompted another pitching change, to RH closer Matty Ott. Marcus Nidiffer worked the count full, fouled off a pitch, then crunched a grand-slam homer over the left-field wall. Braden Kapteyn doubled down the left-field line and Neiko Johnson went in to run for Kapteyn. Keenan Wiley flied to left and Taylor Black struck out. (4 R, 2 H, 1 E, 1 W, 1 HB, 1 LOB.) After eight innings: Kentucky 6, LSU 4.
No. 9 hitter Tyler Hanover drew his third walk of the game, then stole second base. RH Nick Kennedy got Trey Watkins and Austin Nola on groundouts, then gave way to LH Mike Kaczmarek. Kaczmarek struckout Blake Dean. (0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 W, 1 LOB.) The Wildcats went down in order, giving RH Austin Ross 11 retired in a row. The last Wildcat to reach base: Keenan Wiley, on his fourth-inning RBI double. (0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.) After seven innings: LSU 4, Kentucky 2.
LSU got a two-out single to center by Alex Edward but nothing else. (0 R, 1H, 0 E, 1 LOB.) For the second inning in a row, UK went down 1-2-3. (0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.) After six innings: LSU 4, Kentucky 2.
One number tells why Kentucky is still “in” a game in which the pitching staff has walked 10 and hit two, not to mention five hits: LSU has left 12 runners on base through five innings, including three in the fifth. Tyler Hanover’s one-out single, a hit batsman and a two-out walk loaded the bases. Nick Kennedy got out of the jam when Micah Gibbs flied to left. (0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 W, 1 HB, 3 LOB.) Kentucky went down in order. (0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.) After five innings: LSU 4, Kentucky 2.
UK’s first two pitchers of the game have had less control than a prom-party crowd without a chaperone. Matt Little walked the first two batters of the inning on eight pitches, the eighth and ninth walks of the game for LSU. Coach Gary Henderson replaced Little with RHP Nick Kennedy. Mikie Mahtook tried to bunt the runners ahead, but C Marcus Nidiffer instead through out Blake Dean at third base. Leon Landry crushed a ball, sending it out of the park, but just foul down the right-field line. Next pitch, Landry flied out to right. Alex Edward tooka called third strike. (0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 2 W, 2 LOB.) UK got a one-out double off the right-field wall by Braden Kapteyn, making him 2-for-2. Keenan Wiley, after fouling five two-strike pitches, brought Kapteyn around with a double to the gap in left-center. LSU starter Austin Ross fanned the next two batters. (1R, 2H, 0E, 1 LOB.) After four innings: LSU 4, Kentucky 2.
More control issues, more problems for UK. LSU’s Mikie Mahtook drew a leadoff walk. He was forced at second, but SS Taylor Black’s relay to first sailed into the Wildcats dugout. The error left Leon Landry on second base. One out later, Matt Gaudet socked his 16th homer of the season over the right-field wall. No. 9 hitter Tyler Hanover then drew his second walk in as many plate appearances. Trey Watkins also walked, prompting a visit from UK Coach Gary Henderson with RHP Matt Little. Austin Nola flied to right, stranding two runners and pushing LSU’s three-inning total to seven runners left on base. (2 R, 1 H, 1 E, 3 W, 2 LOB.) For UK, Chris Bisson led off with a double off the wall in right-center. However, Chad Wright struck out, Gunner Glad popped out to shallow right and Lance Ray grounded out to third. (0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.) After three innings: LSU 4, Kentucky 1.
Alex Meyer’s control problems carried over from the first inning. After walking No. 9 batter Tyler Hanover and beaning Trey Watkins, Meyer got the hook from Coach Gary Henderson. In one inning-plus, Meyer threw 50 pitches, 22 for strikes. RH Matt Little came on to strike out Austin Nola. Blake Dean lined a single to right, loading the bases. Little escaped, though, by getting Micah Gibbs to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. (0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 W, 1 HB, 2 LOB.) Marcus Nidffer led off UK’s half of the inning with a walk and moved to second on Braden Kapteyn’s sharp single to left. Keenan Wiley bunted the runners to second and third. Nidiffer scored and Kapteyn took third on Taylor Black’s high chopper to first. Brian Adams struck out looking. (1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 W, 1 LOB.) After two innings: LSU 2, Kentucky 1.
Kentucky RHP Alex Meyer struggled to find the strike zone and LSU pounced to score the game’s first two runs. Trey Watkins led off with a single up the middle. One out later, Blake Dean walked. With both runners in motion, Micah Gibbs singled through the right side to score Watkins and advance Dean to third. After Meyer fanned Mikie Mahtook, Leon Landry walked to load the bases. A pickoff attempt by C Marcus Nidiffer on a throw to first base sailed down the right-field line for an apparent run-scoring error. However, plate umpire Larry Short apparently ruled batter Alex Edward interfered with Nidiffer and sent all the runners back. LSU Coach Paul Mainieri put up an extended argument, to no avail. Edward walked, though, forcing in Dean with the second run. Meyer fanned Matt Gaudet. (2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 walks, 3 left on base.) UK got a one-out single up the middle by Chad Wright. LSU righty Austin Ross got Gunner Glad and Lance Ray looking at third strikes. (0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left on base.) After one inning: LSU 2, Kentucky 0.
Kentucky plays host to LSU in the finale of a three-game Southeastern Conference baseball series at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Wildcats will be going for their first series sweep of the Tigers since 1991.
LSU (34-17 overall, 12-14 SEC) — Trey Watkins LF; Austin Nola SS; Blake Dean 1B; Micah Gibbs C; Mikie Mahtook RF; Leon Landry CF; Alex Edward 3B; Matt Gaudet DH; Tyler Hanover 2B. Pitching: RH Austin Ross (3-4, 5.43).
KENTUCKY (28-23, 11-15) — Chris Bisson 2B; Chad Wright RF; Gunner Glad 3B; Lance Ray 1B; Marcus Nidiffer C; Braden Kapteyn DH; Keenan Wiley CF; Taylor Black SS; Brian Adams LF. Pitching: RH Alex Meyer (5-2, 6.23).
UMPIRES — Larry Short HP; Todd Henderson 1B; Scott Erby 3B.