Three-Run Bomb Buries LSU

Designated hitter Lance Ray launched a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night to lift Kentucky to an 11-9 win over No. 20 LSU in Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The win improved the Wildcats to 27-23 overall and 10-15 in the SEC. LSU dropped to 34-16 overall and 12-13 in league play.

Kentucky trailed 9-7 entering the bottom of the ninth inning and staged the game-winning rally against LSU closer Matty Ott (2-4). UK leftfielder Brian Adams led off with a double and advanced to third when LSU leftfielder Johnny Dishon misplayed the ball. Adams scored on second baseman Chris Bisson’s groundout to close the gap to 9-8.

Ott then issued back-to-back walks to rightfielder Chad Wright and first baseman Gunner Glad before surrendering Ray’s walk-off homer. The blast was Ray’s second of the game, as he also unloaded a three-run homer in the first inning.

“This is obviously a very difficult loss, but it’s something we can’t dwell upon,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We still have two very important games left in this series, and we have to come out tomorrow and play with a sense of urgency.”

Kentucky reliever Braden Kapteyn (2-0) was credited with the win as he worked a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit and one walk.

Catcher Micah Gibbs gave LSU a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the first inning, but Kentucky responded in the bottom of the frame with the three-run blast by Ray.

LSU designated hitter Matt Gaudet tied the game in the second with a two-run dinger, his 15th of the season and his first since April 24 at Ole Miss.

The Tigers took the lead with three runs in the third as third baseman Alex Edward delivered an RBI single, Gaudet lifted a sacrifice fly and Edward scored when Wright made a errant throw to third base after catching Gaudet’s fly ball.

First baseman Blake Dean launched a three-run homer in the fourth to increase the Tigers’ lead to 9-3.

Kentucky battled back, scoring a run in the fourth and three in the fifth against LSU starter Anthony Ranaudo to narrow the gap to 9-7.

Kentucky reliever Walter Wijas was brilliant in relief for the Wildcats, holding LSU scoreless for 4.1 innings and allowing the Wildcats to get back in the game.

LSU reliever Paul Bertuccini was equally effective in relief of Ranaudo, working 3.2 scoreless innings while allowing one hit with no walks and two strikeouts.

Gibbs led LSU’s 13-hit effort by going 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and one RBI. Dean was 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI, while Gaudet was 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI.

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