LSU defeated #10 Kentucky to take game 1 of the three game series this weekend at Alex Box Stadium. LSU had great performances in all three phases of the game to take down a very talented Kentucky team.
The game had the makings of a pitcher's duel through the first four and a half innings. Aaron Nola retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up a lone run in the top of the fifth inning, and Kentucky starter A.J. Reed only allowed one run off of a sacrifice fly in the third inning.
The game was level at 1-1 until LSU broke things wide open in the bottom of the fifth. Mark Laird reached on fielder's choice and Alex Bregman flew out before the bats got rolling. Raph Rhymes singled and Mason Katz walked, which loaded the bases for Christian Ibarra who delivered an RBI single. Rhymes would score on a throwing error committed by the Kentucky third baseman, who threw a dirt ball to first trying to get Ibarra out. Jacoby Jones then delivered a 2 RBI single and the Tigers had a 5-1 lead.
LSU never looked back after the fifth. They added three runs in the six and seventh innings to defeat Kentucky in an 11-1 rout. The Tigers finished with 14 hits on the evening, and went 4-11 with runners in scoring position. Eight of the nine starters had hits on the evening. The most impressive fact is that LSU scored all 11 of their runs with two outs.
Alex Bregman continues to roll for the Tigers at the plate. He only went 1-3 tonight, but his RBI triple in the 7th inning was the final blow against Kentucky. His hitting streak is now at an astonishing 18 games, and he has reached base in 26 consecutive games.
Jacoby Jones and Ty Ross both had a great nights at the plate. Jones went 3-5 with a double, 2 RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base. Ross was 2-3 with a walk and two runs scored. I never read too much into one game, but hopefully this game gives these two some confidence that they carry with them for the remainder of the series.
Aaron Nola had another strong outing, pitching seven innings with seven K's, three walks, and 103 pitches thrown. Nola ran into some jams in the fourth and fifth innings, but was able to battle out of them fairly unscathed. Nola surrendered his lone earned run of the evening in the fifth inning when Kentucky center fielder Mark Cousino hit an RBI single. Nola battled right back though, getting Kentucky left fielder Zac Zellers to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. Besides those two innings, Nola was lights out. His command was strong and he was able to outmatch what was on paper a very formidable line up for him. It's not every day a right handed pitcher has to face a line up with six left handed batters. Nola now has a season ERA of 2.55 and a WHIP of 0.962 on 53 innings pitched.
Will LaMarche had a solid outing, throwing two scoreless innings and giving up one hit. LaMarche is still spotty with his accuracy, but he was effective against all seven batters he faced.
The Tigers look to take the series tomorrow. Game two starts at 6:30pm with Ryan Eades on the mound. See you at the Box.
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