Kentucky falls to LSU, will face Vanderbilt in an elimination game

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After a long day of waiting for the rain to clear up from the Hoover, Alabama area, the Kentucky baseball team suffered an 11-6 loss to No. 4 seed LSU in the second round of the SEC tournament, sending the UK into a playoff game on Friday. .

The Cats drew first blood as in the top of the second, catcher Devin Burkes worked a nine at-bat against the LSU starter Ma’Khail Hilliard. The end result was a two-run homer that was only Burkes’ second of the season as the United Kingdom quickly took a 2-0 lead.


Kentucky starter Mason Hazelwood would meet his first jam late in the third as LSU charged the bases with just one out. The Tigers cut the Wildcat lead to 2-1 as Tre ‘Morgan scored a run with a ground ball and a batter later, LSU jumped 3-2 in front as Tyler McManus ripped a two-run double.


Looking to even the score quickly, Kentucky charged with two outs in the top of the fourth but couldn’t cash in as Hilliard pulled out John Trasher to escape the block and keep the Tigers ahead by a run.

After Hazelwood granted a debut single to Gavin Dugas late in the fourth and threw a wild pitch allowing Dugas to advance to second, Nick Mingione went to his paddock and called Zack Lee to slow down Tiger’s attack. He would have been in trouble, however, as with an out, Co-SEC Player of the Year Dylan Crews extended LSU’s lead with an RBI single to make it 4-2.

Crews RBI success was just the start of a big extra inning for the Tigers as Josh Pearson would follow Crews with an RBI single and Jordan Thompson drove in a run with a defenseman pick that featured a tight play at the plate Mingione would later be ejected for arguing as LSU extended their lead to 6-2.

LSU added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth as with the bases loaded and no one out, Thompson fielded a two-run single to make it 8-2 and eliminate Lee from the game.

With Mason Moore in relief, the Tigers offense remained locked as McManus ripped an RBI single to make it 9-2.

The Cats would get a run in the top of the seventh as with Devin Fontenot taking over for LSU, Hunter Jump lifted a sack-fly to tag Burkes and cut the Tiger’s lead to 9-3.

LSU would respond right away in the bottom half of the inning as with Jackson Nove relieving for the Cats, Pearson hit a two-run homer to push the Tiger lead to 11-3.


Kentucky continued to fight despite an eight-run deficit as in the top of the eighth, Burkes hit his second homer of the game and landed his fourth hit with a three-run bomb right to make it an 11- 6.


Still, down five, Trasher worked a first step ahead of ninth LSU head coach Jay Johnson to accompany Riley Cooper in relief. A simple Jump set up Kentucky with two players and no one was out, but Cooper bounced back to ground Daniel Harris into a pick of defenders, induce a Chase Estep flyout and take out Ryan Ritter to end the game.

LSU will face No. 1 Tennessee in Friday’s fourth and final slate game at Hoover and maintain the double elimination.


The loss sends Kentucky to the losing streak, where it will meet No. 8 seed Vanderbilt, Kentucky Proud Park in the team’s regular season series. In the series opener, Commodore pitchers Chris McElvain and Christian Little combined to throw a no-hitter.

Kentucky will most likely need a win over Vanderbilt to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, as they still only rank 53rd in RPI despite their first-round win over Auburn.

Friday’s game between the Cats and Dores will be played 30 minutes after the conclusion of the No. 3 seed Arkansas and the No. 7 seed Florida at 10:30 a.m.

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