Kentucky improved to 28-23 overall and 11-15 in Southeastern Conference play. LSU fell to 34-17 overall and 12-14 in league games.
The teams conclude the series at 1 p.m. ET Sunday. Junior right-hander Austin Ross will start on the mound for the Tigers, while Kentucky will counter with sophomore right-hander Alex Meyer.
“We just have to keep playing hard, and I know our kids will,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We have some very important games left as we look to earn a postseason bid. Tomorrow represents a big game for us, and we’ll have to be at our best against a very tough Kentucky club.”
Cooper (4-4) limited LSU to four runs on eight hits in seven innings with one walk and five strikeouts. LSU starter Jordan Rittiner (4-4) was charged with the loss as he allowed four runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings with no walks and three strikeouts.
LSU took a 1-0 lead in the third when rightfielder Mikie Mahtook lifted a sacrifice fly to score designated hitter Matt Gaudet, who had singled earlier in the inning.
The Wildcats erupted for six runs in the fourth inning as catcher Luke Maile and second baseman Chris Bisson each launched two-run homers off Rittiner to highlight the uprising. The inning also featured an RBI double by designated hitter Marcus Nidiffer and a run-scoring single by centerfielder Keenan Wiley against LSU reliever Chris Matulis.
The Wildcats added three runs in the fifth against reliever Mitch Mormann as shortstop Taylor Black unloaded a solo homer, rightfielder Chad Wright delivered an RBI double and first baseman Lance Ray lined a run-scoring single.
LSU right-hander Joey Bourgeois, however, silenced the Kentucky bats over the final 3.1 innings as he retired all 10 batters he faced. Bourgeois recorded three strikeouts in the brilliant relief outing.
The Tigers narrowed the deficit to 9-2 in the seventh on centerfielder Leon Landry’s solo homer, his fifth dinger of the season. LSU added two runs in the eighth as catcher Micah Gibbs produced a sacrifice fly and Landry contributed an RBI groundout.