NO. 2 UK BASEBALL EDGES NO. 1 LSU, 7-6 TO CLAIM SERIES
LEXINGTON, Ky. --
Freshman Austin Cousino collected a team-best three hits and Zac
Zellers launched his fifth homer of the year to lead No. 2 Kentucky to
a series-clinching 7-6 win in the rubber match over No. 1 LSU, in front
of 3,086 fans on an overcast Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
(35-6, 13-5 Southeastern Conference) won its sixth consecutive
conference weekend to open the league slate. The Wildcats lead the SEC
through six weekends, own the nation’s best record and have opened up
the 2012 season off with the best start in the over 100-year history of
UK’s series win over top-ranked LSU was the first
series win over a No. 1 ranked team in the modern history of the
program. UK’s 35 wins to open the year in its first 41 games is tied
for the sixth-most in UK single-season history. During the weekend, UK
welcomed a school-record 9,496 over three games, eclipsing the previous
record of 8,238 fans during a three-game weekend series with Florida in
Kentucky improves to 12-3 in one-run games in 2012 with
the win, with the Wildcats also boasting a 1-0 mark in two-run games.
UK now sports a 10-5 record against top-25 foes in 2012, with only one
loss on the year coming to a team not ranked in the top 20.
Wildcats edged LSU in the colossal matchup that served as the nation’s
premier series of the weekend, with the two teams ranked No. 1 and No.
2 in one poll and sitting in a two-way tie atop the SEC standings.
After LSU won the opening game 5-4 – UK’s fourth series-opening loss in
its last five – the Wildcats responded with a resounding 8-1 win to
even the series on Saturday. After LSU opened the scoring with a run in
the second, UK took the lead with a three-run inning in the third. LSU
evened the game with two runs in the fourth before UK regained the lead
with a run in the bottom of the frame. LSU took a lead with two runs in
the sixth to chase starter Corey Littrell, before UK pounded out four
doubles in a three-run sixth inning for the game-winning rally, holding
on for a 7-6 win.
UK had its third consecutive double-digit
hitting performance on the weekend, totaling 11 hits against a LSU team
that entered the series ranked second in the league with a 2.96 ERA,
riding a blistering eight-game winning streak before UK’s wins in the
second and third games of the set. The Wildcats were led by a three-hit
game by Cousino, who launched his SEC-leading 17th double of the year
and stole a pair of bases. Zellers hit his fifth homer of 2012, with UK
getting hits from eight of its nine starters. A.J. Reed totaled a
two-RBI double, with UK also getting hits from Thomas McCarthy, Luke
Maile, Cameron Flynn, J.T. Riddle and Matt Reida.
denied his fifth consecutive rubber-match win, as he took a no-decision
after exiting in the sixth. The Louisville, Ky., native worked 5.2
innings, allowing eight hits and five runs, walking two and striking
out four. UK used standout right-hander Tim Peterson to set up the
save, with 1.1 shutout innings, before senior Alex Phillips hurled a
six-out save, his fourth of the year. Overall, the UK bullpen has
worked 22.2 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
(32-9, 12-6 SEC) starter Aaron Nola worked five innings, allowing seven
hits and four runs, striking out seven without allowing a walk. Joey
Bourgeois (1-2) suffered the loss with two runs allowed and getting one
out. Chris Cotton allowed two hits and one run, before LSU got solid
relief outings from Nick Rumbelow and Kurt McCune.
return to action with a midweek game at No. 22 Louisville, slated for
Tuesday at Jim Patterson Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on
the UK IMG Network, with Neil Price calling the action. Fans in
Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK
1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
After a 1-2-3 inning to
start the game for Littrell, LSU got on the board in the top of the
second with a lead-off home run from Raph Rhymes. Austin Nola walked
for the Tigers, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third with
two outs on a ground ball to the right side. Austin attempted to swipe
home after a pitch in the dirt but Maile recovered and tagged Austin
out at the plate. LSU left the top half of the inning up 1-0.
battled back, sparked by a two-out rally in the bottom of the third.
Cousino reached base first for the Wildcats with a two-out single
through the right side. McCarthy doubled down the leftfield line to
leave runners on second and third with two outs. Reed stepped up for
the Wildcats, drilling a two-RBI double to left center, his first hit
of the series. Maile kept the rally going with a single up the middle,
scoring Reed and increasing the Wildcats’ lead to 3-1.
leadoff single from Hanover, LSU responded in the top of the fourth.
Katz singled through the left side before the baserunners would advance
to second and third on a passed ball. Rhymes knocked in his second RBI
of the game with a single up the middle that would score Hanover. With
runners on first and third, Katz scored on a 6-4-3 double play, tying
the ball game at three through three and a half.
responded for Kentucky, drilling the first pitch of the bottom half of
the fourth over the leftfield fence. The solo shot gave Kentucky a 4-3
lead through four innings.
Hanover led off LSU in the top of the
sixth with single before being gunned at second by Maile on an
attempted steal of second. Katz got the Tigers going again with a
single to left field. Katz advanced to second on a wild pitch before
scoring on a double down the leftfield line from Rhymes. With two outs,
Austin singled up the middle, scoring Rhymes and recapturing the lead
for LSU at 5-4.
Zellers led off the bottom of the sixth with a
double down the rightfield line. Riddle matched Zellers with a double
to right center, scoring Zellers. With two outs and the lefty
specialist Cotton on in relief, Reida drilled a double down the
first-base line, scoring Riddle and retaking the lead at 6-5. Cousino
kept it going for the Wildcats, hitting Kentucky’s fourth double of the
inning and scoring Reida to build the lead to 7-5.
a comeback in the top of the eighth as Katz got it started with a
single to leftfield. Rhymes followed up with his fourth hit of the day,
a single through the left side. Austin reached on an error, scoring
Katz and leaving runners on first and second. After one unearned run,
Phillips worked his way out of the inning with a 4-6-3 double play.
Kentucky held onto a run-one lead heading into the bottom of the eighth.