Tigers sweep UK

LSU's winning streak was extended to nine games on Sunday as the Tigers came from behind to beat Kentucky 9-8 and left Lexington with a sweep of the No. 16 ranked Wildcats.

The Tigers trailed the Wildcats by a run going into the top of the ninth until Matt Clark launched a two-run homer for a 9-8 lead.

The two-RBI home run gave LSU (32-16-1, 12-11-1 SEC) the 9-8 score it would need to finish a weekend sweep of Kentucky (34-14, 11-13 SEC).

"This is a very resilient group of players performing with a high level of confidence and that was demonstrated again today against a great Kentucky club,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Throughout the weekend, we received great efforts from so many players. These were true team victories in which everyone on our club made important contributions.”

The game-winning home run capped off another offensive battle for the Tigers.

Although LSU scored the game’s first run, the Wildcats led 8-3 after five innings. The comeback began in the sixth inning with a two-RBI double by second baseman Ryan Schimpf.

Clark came back strong from his day off Saturday. LSU’s home run leader got his first RBI of the day in the eighth inning, scoring Derek Helenihi on a double. He added a run of his own as he scored on a fielder’s choice ground ball, cutting the score to 8-7 heading into the ninth.

The Tigers’ rally nearly fell short as left fielder Blake Dean and catcher Micah Gibbs each flied out to start the ninth inning, and, after several tense moments, Helenihi walked with a full count. Clark swung things into LSU’s favor on his very first pitch. As the ball sailed out of the yard the junior raised his fists in celebration.

Michael Hollander started out the day’s action. Continuing his strong Saturday performance, he doubled into left field in the game’s first at-bat. A double by Dean scored Hollander for the 1-0 lead.

Kentucky answered before the first inning was over. An RBI single by Kentucky third baseman Chris McClendon tied the score at 1-1. A throwing error on the next at-bat scored McClendon for a 2-1 advantage.

LSU retook the lead with a pair of one-run innings.

Hollander and Dean got together again to start the third inning, as Hollander singled to left field and scored on a right field double by Dean. With the score tied at 2-2, Clark led off the fourth inning with a double to center field. Schimpf made the score 3-2 by batting in Clark with a single to right field.

After a two-run fourth inning, a pair of fifth inning home runs led the Wildcats to their 8-3 lead. With two runners on, Kentucky outfielder Keenan Wiley hit a two run shot to center field. Up 7-3, right fielder Bryan Rose added the Wildcats’ final run with a solo home run.

LSU’s Jordan Brown started but had a shaky outing on the mound. In 4 and 1/3 innings the junior allowed six runs on 11 hits and struck out two batters.

Sophomore Shane Ardoin did not do much better in 1/3 inning of work, surrendering both Kentucky home runs. Freshman Daniel Bradshaw entered for Ardoin and shut the Wildcat offense down. Bradshaw pitched 3 and 1/3, striking out four batters and allowing one hit.

Jared Bradford resumed his role as the Tigers’ closer for his second save of the series. The senior struck out one and allowed one hit in the bottom of the ninth as LSU held on to the 9-8 margin.

This weekend’s result marks the first time LSU has posted back-to-back SEC sweeps since the 1998 season.

The Tigers start their final home series of the season Friday at Alex Box Stadium before finishing the year with a four-game road trip to UNO and Auburn.


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