LEXINGTON – With two outs in the ninth and LSU down to its final strike, Quinn Stewart hit a two-run home run to spark a four-run rally as the eighth-ranked Tigers rallied for a 5-2 victory over Kentucky on Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats were on the verge of their first Southeastern Conference sweep in six years and their first over LSU since 1991 when Stewart struck. The Tigers avoided being swept to open SEC play for the first time in 25 years with the win. The loss snapped Kentucky's eight-game win streak as it fell to 17-4 overall.
However, victories on Friday and Saturday had already allowed UK to clinch the series win, its second in three years under head coach John Cohen.
The loss spoiled a near-flawless outing by starting pitcher Greg Dombrowski, who no-hit LSU for five innings and allowed just two hits in 7 2/3 innings. After hitting a batter in the first, he retired 13 straight before Jarred Bogany singled in the fifth.
Dombrowski then retired eight more before Bogany singles again with two outs in the seventh. He got the next batter, Jason Ogata, to strike out on a pitch in the dirt, but the ball squirted away from catcher Sean Coughlin to allow Ogata to reach and Bogany to take third. It was the last batter Dombrowski would face as he was relieved by Andrew Albers.
LSU scored its first run on a double steal when nobody covered second base in the run down. However, Albers got Bruce Sprowl to lineout to end the inning.
Dombrowski, who did not factor in the decision, was charged for the run even though the inning should have been over on the strikeout, his career-high seventh of the game. He has not walked a batter in 35 2/3 innings this year and in 52 1/3 overall dating back to last season.
Michael Hollander singled to lead off the ninth before Albers got the next two batters to bring up Stewart. After his home run, Matt Liuzza singled and Jordan Mayer walked before Bogany made it 5-2 with a triple.
Senior Michael Bertram broke a scoreless tie in the fifth with a solo home run to center field. It was his second of the year and the first of his career in SEC play.
Bertram scored Kentucky's second run in the seventh on a two-out error by pitcher Derik Olvey. On the play, First baseman Steven Waguespack fielded an Antone DeJesus grounder in the hole and tossed to Olvey, who couldn't handle it.
Fighting illness all weekend, Olvey came back to pitch a gem. He worked eight innings, allowing Kentucky's powerful offense just two runs on four hits. He fanned five and walked one. Thanks to Stewart, he earned the win to improve to 5-0. Albers took the loss to fall to 1-1.
Kentucky returns to action on Wednesday against Xavier at 6:30 p.m. The Wildcats get back into SEC play on Friday at Tennessee.
Notes: Kentucky lost in its opponents final at bat for the first time this year after doing so eight times in SEC play last year … The loss snapped UK's eight-game win streak … Kentucky opens SEC play by winning a series for the second time in three years … UK took a series from LSU for the first time since 1994 … Ryan Strieby extended his team-high hitting streak to nine games … Bertram hit a home run in SEC play for the first time in his career … Kentucky's two runs were its fewest in a game this year … Greg Dombrowski has not walked a batter this year and has not walked one in 52 1/3 innings dating back to last year … Dombrowski struck out a career-high seven.
Two-Out, four-run rally dooms Wildcats
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