Tigers get scorched in SEC opener

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- First baseman Ryan Strieby drove in three runs Friday night and left-hander Aaron Tennyson scattered eight hits over 7.2 innings to lead Kentucky to an 8-2 victory over LSU in Cliff Hagan Stadium.

LSU (16-4, 0-1) lost its Southeastern Conference opener for the first time since 2001. Kentucky (16-3, 1-0) increased its win streak to seven games with Friday's victory.

The teams meet Saturday in Game 2 of the series at Noon CST. Freshman right-hander Louis Coleman (2-0) is scheduled to start on the mound for LSU, while Kentucky will counter with senior left-hander Craig Snipp (3-0)

Tennyson (4-1) limited LSU to two runs on eight hits in 7.2 innings with one walk and three strikeouts while firing 105 pitches.

Meanwhile, LSU starter Clay Dirks (3-2) endured a difficult outing, surrendering three runs on four hits in just 2.2 innings with three walks and two strikeouts.

Dirks issued all three of his walks in the third inning, when Kentucky pushed across two runs to take a 3-1 lead.

LSU pitchers issued a total of seven walks in the contest.

"Walks obviously played a major factor in the game," said LSU coach Smoke Laval. "It seemed as if Dirks never found his curveball.

"It's what you have to do to win a baseball game; you have to throw strikes and you have to get the timely hits. We didn't do either one tonight."

Kentucky grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second on a leadoff homer by second baseman John Shelby, his third of the season.

LSU rebounded to tie the game at 1-1 in the third when shortstop Michael Hollander singled and later scored on a double by right fielder Quinn Stewart.

The Wildcats took the lead for good in the third as they took advantage of four walks -- three issued by Dirks and one by reliever Nolan Cain. Right fielder Collin Cowgill led off the frame with a single before Dirks walked Strieby, DH Matt McKinney and Shelby in succession to give UK a 2-1 advantage.

Third baseman Michael Bertram contributed a RBI groundout to increase the lead to 3-1 and signal Dirks' exit from the contest.

Kentucky added three runs -- two unearned -- against Cain in the fifth inning. Strieby launched his fourth homer of the season to lead off the frame and give the Wildcats a three-run cushion.

Shortstop Ryan Wilkes' two-run single -- after a two-out throwing error by LSU third baseman Will Harris had kept the inning alive -- increased the lead to 6-1.

Strieby contributed RBI singles in the sixth and eighth innings to account for the final Wildcat runs.

Tennyson held LSU scoreless from the fourth through the seventh innings before allowing a run in the eighth. Hollander led off with a double and later scored on Stewart's sacrifice fly.

Reliever Brock Baber worked the final 1.1 innings for Kentucky, allowing one hit with one strikeout.

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