By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports
LEXINGTON, KY: The Tigers were looking to winning their first SEC series of the season, and that they did as they were able to hang on for a 8-6 win on Saturday night in Lexington against a scrappy Wildcats ball club. LSU would take a 7-1 lead into the 7th inning behind the solid pitching by AJ Labas. But as it has been through most of the season, the bullpen did all they could to try and surrender this one. The Tigers would hang on and pull out the victory....
Below is our full game breakdown.... GEAUX TIGERS!!
Dylan Crews would draw a one out, base on balls. Crews would then steal second and advance to third on a throwing error by Kentucky catcher, Coltyn Kessler.
Pitcher Ryan Hogenow would strike out Gavin Dugas, then get Cade Doughty to ground out, leaving Crews stranded on base...
AJ Labas would start on the mound for the Tigers and handle the Wildcats' hitters in order, three up-three down to send us to the second inning.
Hagenow would walk Jordan Thompson after striking out leadoff batter Giovanni DiGiacomo. The Tigers would find the bases loaded with only one out after Hagenow would hit Cade Beloso with a pitch, then walk Hayden Travinski.
Hagenow would continue to struggle as would then walk Zach Arnold to send a run across the plate. Wildcats head coach Nick Mingione had seen enough, bringing in Holt Jones from the bullpen to pitch to the LSU hitters.
Tre' Morgan would hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field allowing Beloso to tag up and score from third. Crews would then ground out to end the Tigers inning, leaving two on base, but holding a 2-0 lead.
Labas would give up a lead off single to start the bottom of the second, but would manage to retire the next three Wildcats in order to end any type of a Kentucky scoring threat.. We would head to the third inning with LSU up 2-0.
The Tiger bats would continue to show some type of muscle in the third inning, as Dugas would rip a leadoff triple to right field. Cade Doughty would step up next and hit a single to bring Dugas home.
After a DiGiacomo strike out, Doughty would advance to second base on a wild pitch. Jordan Thompson would then hit a single moving Doughty to third, putting runners on the corners with only one out for Cade Beloso.
Beloso would fly out to deep center field, allowing Doughty to tag up and score. Travinski would ground out to end the top half of the inning with LSU now leading 4-0.
Cam Hill would get the Wildcats on the board hitting a one out, solo homerun to left center. Labas would then strike out the next two Kentucky hitters to end the third inning with the score now, LSU 4, Kentucky 1...
Tre' Morgan would single up the middle after Zach Arnold would leadoff the fourth with a ground out. Morgan would then move to second base on a throwing error by the pitcher, trying to pick him off at first. After Crews would pop foul out, the Wildcats would bring in a new pitcher to face Gavin Dugas who would be up next.
Daniel Harper would enter the game to pitch. Dugas would respond, hitting a two out, two run homerun to left field. Doughty would go down swinging for the final out with LSU now up, 6-1.
AJ Labas would continue to pitch very well as he would face four Kentucky batters in the fourth only giving up a single. We would head to the fifth inning... LSU 6, Kentucky 1...
DiGiacomo would leadoff the top of the fifth with a single to left field. Thompson would then ground out, advancing DiGiacomo to second.
Beloso would step up and single to right field scoring DiGiacomo. Travinski and Arnold would then both strike out back to back to bring Kentucky to the plate in the fifth, but not before LSU would plate anther run. 7-1 Tigers....
Kentucky would manage to get two runners on base in the bottom of the fifth, but Labas and the LSU defense would remain in control, registering the needed three out, to strand the runners on base.
The sixth inning would go by quietly and quickly with both teams going three up-three down as we would head to the seventh with LSU still up 7-1.
LSU would try to get the offense going in the top of the seventh. Thompson would single to left field with two outs. Beloso would then double down the left field line, Thompson would round third and head home but Kentucky would relay the ball perfectly to home plate to tag him out ending the LSU threat.
Labas would begin to run out of juice as he would give up a double to right center followed by a single to left field to put runners on first and third with no outs.
Mainieri would bring Ty Floyd in to replace Labas who had a fantastic night on the mound. Floyd would get the first out quickly. Cam Hill would then single, scoring a run and advancing another runner to third base. Floyd would then walk the next hitter to load the bases. A wild pitch would score a run and move up the runners. TJ Collett would then step to the plate and hit a single to plate two more runs for the Wildcats.
Devin Fontenot would replace the struggling Ty Floyd and quickly get a double play ground ball to get LSU out the inning. But the damage was done by Kentucky as we would head to the eighth inning with LSU now leading 7-5.
Kentucky pitcher Sean Harney would only face four LSU hitters in the top of the eighth, as the Tigers would leave a runner stranded...
Fontenot would get into a small jam in the bottom of the inning giving up a run, but would battle his way out of it with no more damage done... We would head to the ninth inning with LSU holding onto a 7-6 lead...
Doughty would single to center field with one out. DiGiacomo would ground out to advance Doughty to second. Thompson would step up to the plate with a timely hit as he would single to left field to score Doughty for an insurance run. The Tigers would strand two more runners on base as we would head to the bottom of the 9th with LSU up 8-6...
Garrett Edwards would enter the game and take care of the Kentucky hitters in order, three up-three down to end the game with LSU earning a huge 8-6 victory.
“I thought we played a good ball game for the second night in a row,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We came out again and had some really good at-bats and built a lead, and AJ pitched really well. I didn’t think Kentucky would go away, they didn’t, and they battled us right to the end. We were able to hang on, and it was a good win for us.”
With Saturday's win LSU is now 20-11 overall and 3-8 in the SEC... AJ Labas would earn the win to go
2-0 on the season, while Garrett Edwards recorded his 3rd save of the year...
Next, LSU will go for the series sweep on Sunday in Lexington. First pitch scheduled for 12:00pm....