Jonathan Mailhes |

LSU Tigers romp to 10-0 win over Kentucky Wildcats in SEC Tournament

Cats drop into elimination bracket at Hoover.

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 UK and an off-night for SEC Pitcher of the Year Sean Hjelle.

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 10, but finished with an uncharacteristic line that included 10 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits. The sophomore right-hander entered the matchup with a 1.90 ERA in league play. 

While UK didn't do much to support its starter in the field, Lange (8-5) got three huge defensive plays early from centerfielder Zach Watson, who may have taken three hits away from the Cats in the first three innings to squash any hopes of a momentum swing. 

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.

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