BATON ROUGE, La. – Third baseman Tommy White was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded to score the go-ahead run and propel the top-ranked Tigers to a 7-6 victory over No. 11 Kentucky Saturday afternoon inside Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
With the win, LSU’s record improved to 29-6 overall and 9-5 in conference play, while the Wildcats dropped to 28-7 on the season and 10-5 in SEC action.
LSU’s next game is scheduled for Tuesday at “The Box” against UL-Lafayette. The matchup will be streamed on SEC Network+ with the broadcast beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT. The contest is available to listen to on LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates.
“I’m so proud of our team,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “We have so many things that we can do better and that we’re going to work on to do better. But, to just gut that thing out and find a way to win that game is a credit to our team. I’m very proud of them, they’ll get a well-deserved day off, and I’m really excited for another good week coming up; it doesn’t slow down.
LSU right-hander Bryce Collins (2-0) earned the hard-fought victory after coming into the game down two runs. Collins closed it out for the Tigers and tossed 2.1 innings while allowing no runs on one hit with four strikeouts.
“Bryce gave us a special performance, and I think that’s six good outings in a row for him,” Johnson said. “I always knew it was in him; he had some adversity earlier this year and wasn’t pitching real well, but now he’s right in the thick of the plans as much as anybody.”
Wildcat reliever Zack Lee (3-2) was charged with the loss after throwing 3.1 innings and allowing three runs on four hits.
LSU first baseman Jared Jones got the Tigers on the board first with a solo shot to left field in the bottom of the second inning. LSU added to its lead in the third, which started with two consecutive singles from left fielder Tre’ Morgan and centerfielder Dylan Crews. Morgan scored on a throwing error by the Wildcat third baseman.
Kentucky scratched one across in the fourth inning without recording a hit. The Wildcats drew four walks in the frame and scored on a wild pitch. LSU reliever Gavin Guidry got out of the inning with a strikeouit and a chopper to first. The score was 2-1 through 3.5 innings.
The Wildcats brought the score even in the fifth inning. The top half began with a walk and a single. Right fielder Nolan McCarthy reached third via a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice bunt to make the score 2-2.
LSU retook the lead in the bottom frame with an RBI groundout from third baseman Tommy White. In the already back-and-forth game, Kentucky tied it up again in the sixth with its own RBI groundout.
Jones launched his second homer of the game in the sixth to once again give the Tigers a lead with the score sitting at 4-3 through six innings.
“I sensed an awesome focus with Jared today,” Johnson said. “I had a good gut feeling that he was locked in and ready to go. On the second homer, he got on top of a fastball and hit it a mile. That was impressive; he’s becoming such a good player and I’m really proud of his development.”
In the top of the seventh, Kentucky scored three runs to take its first lead of the game on the strength of a two-RBI double and RBI single. LSU immediately responded in the bottom half to tie the game 6-6.
The frame began with a single from Morgan, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. Shortstop Jordan Thompson drove in Morgan with an RBI double down the left field line and designated hitter Cade Beloso knotted the game at six with an RBI single to right.
White’s bases-loaded HBP in the eighth gave the Tigers the lead, and Collins closed the game by pitching around a two-out single to secure the victory.