LSU's Alex Lange shut down the conference's top offensive club and the Tigers battered the league's freshly anointed pitcher of the year on Thursday night in a 10-0 win over Kentucky in the third round of the SEC Tournament at Hoover, Ala.
Lange, a junior right-hander projected to be a first-round pick in next month's MLB Draft, settled into a rhythm after some early hard-hit balls for outs by the No. 9 Wildcats. He finished with a seven-inning, run-rule shutout against a team averaging a league-high 7.7 runs per game this season. The Missouri native allowed only six hits, walked none, and struck out seven.
Meanwhile, the No. 6 Tigers took advantage of some sloppy defense by
An error on a potential inning-ending double play in the second inning led to a five spot for LSU, and a misplayed grounder back to the mound led to three more runs in the fifth inning as the Tigers turned it into a blowout.
Kramer Robertson punctuated the fifth with a three-run homer to left field. The senior shortstop led LSU with four RBI on the night. Sophomore outfielder Antoine Duplantis added three hits, including a pair of doubles, for the Tigers.
Hjelle (9-3) struck out a career-high
Kentucky (39-19) will attempt to stay alive in the double-elimination portion of the tournament on Friday at approximately 4 p.m. ET when it plays South Carolina (34-24) in a rematch of Wednesday's game won 7-2 by the Cats.
LSU (41-17) advances to the semifinal bracket against an opponent yet to be determined.