LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Riley Mahan had a career-high five hits and Luke Becker hit a pair of home runs, including a seventh-inning grand slam to power No. 13 Kentucky past No. 8 LSU, 12-5, in game one of a Friday doubleheader at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats (27-12, 11-5 SEC) maintained their two-game lead in the SEC East, jumping to an early lead on the Tigers (26-13, 9-7) and adding on throughout the game. Due to forecasts for wet weather on Saturday, the teams will play a second game Friday evening.
Mahan, whose previous high had been three hits, was locked in all afternoon, notching two doubles and driving in three runs. Becker entered as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning and hit a solo home run onto the deck in right-centerfield to give UK a 6-2 lead. Becker added a grand slam in the seventh, blasting a line drive over the centerfield wall for his first career two-homer game.
Starter Sean Hjelle worked his sixth quality start of the season, going six innings, allowing three runs on five hits. The sophomore right-hander moved to 6-2 on the season.
• The Cats are now 18-2 at home this season. • UK is 13-8 vs. ranked foes this season, including 2-1 vs. Top 10 teams. • Junior 1B Evan White went 2-for-6 with a double and three runs scored. o White now has 192 career hits, good for 17th on UK's all-time career hit list. o White has a hit in 15 of his last 16 games. o White now has 13 multi-hit games this season and 57 for his career.
• Sophomore OF Tristan Pompey went 2-for-4 with a run, RBI and two walks. o Pompey now has hit safely in 26 of his past 28 games. o Pompey is currently riding a career-long 10-game hitting streak. o Pompey has 15 multi-hit games this season and 22 for his career.
• Junior IF Riley Mahan went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a run and three RBI. o Mahan now has 135 hits in his career, moving him past Max Kuhn (2012-14) and into 32nd on UK's all-time career hits list. o The five hits are a career-high for Mahan. o Mahan has 17 multi-hit games this season and 34 for his career. o Mahan has 17 doubles this season, the second most in the SEC.
• Junior IF Luke Becker 2-for-3 with a solo HR and a grand slam for a five-RBI game. o It was Becker's second pinch-hit home run of the season. The other came at Mississippi State on April 9. o Becker's grand slam was the second of the season for UK. T.J. Collett blasted a pinch-hit slam against Ole Miss on March 23. o The two blasts gave Becker his first career multi-homer game.
• Senior OF Zach Reks went 2-for-3 with two runs and two walks. o It was Reks' 16th multi-hit performance of the season and 27th of his career.
• Senior OF Marcus Carson was hit by his team-leading 12th and 13th pitches of the season. o He has 20 in his career. o The 13 this season rank tied for 13th on the single-season list. o His two hits gave him the 14th multi-hit game of the season and 21st of his career.
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Antoine Duplantis' RBI single in the eighth inning completed LSU's comeback from a 3-0 deficit and lifted the eighth-ranked Fighting Tigers to a 4-3 victory over No. 10 Kentucky and earn a split of a Southeastern Conference baseball doubleheader Friday night.
Kentucky (27-13 overall, 11-6 SEC) defeated LSU (27-13, 10-7) 12-5 in the opener.
Following an off day Saturday due to the forecast of inclement weather, the series concludes with the rubber game Sunday at noon CT/ 1 p.m. ET.
"We had a rough outing in the first game today and not much went in our favor, but I'm very proud of the way our kids stuck together and earned a tremendous victory in Game 2," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "It wasn't always pretty, but we had some clutch at-bats, outstanding defense and gritty efforts on the mound by both Alex Lange and Zack Hess. Kentucky is extremely hard to beat in this ball park; they had only lost two games here prior to tonight, but we found a way to win, and it give us a chance to play for a series win on Sunday."
Josh Smith singled with one out in the eight, and Michael Papierski followed by beating out a slow roller on which Kentucky shortstop Connor Heady could not make a play.
Duplantis followed with a solid single to right. LSU third base coach Nolan Cain did not hesitate in sending Smith home, and he easily scored when the throw from Wildcat right fielder Tristan Pompey was up the line.
Pompey led off the Kentucky eighth with a double, but he was stranded at third when Tiger reliever Zack Hess retired the next three batters.
Hess pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win and improve to 4-0. LSU trailed 3-0 through four innings, but starter Alex Lange limited the damage, as Kentucky left the bases loaded in the second, third and fourth innings.
Kole Cottam opened the scoring with a one-out solo home run. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases, and with two out, Evan White walked with the bases loaded to force in another run.
With one out in the third, Lange worked his way out of the jam, inducing a popup from Marcus Carson and freezing Heady on a called third strike.
In the fourth, Pompey walked and White singled to start the inning, and Zach Reks followed with a double which fell down the left field line between three fielders: Duplantis, Kramer Robertson and Josh Smith.
With one out, Lange intentionally walked Riley Mahan, who went 5-for-5 in the first game of the doubleheader, loading the bases. The move worked. Lange struck out Cottam and Tyler Marshall to end the threat.
Singles by Papierski and Robertson, plus a walk to Duplantis, loaded the bases for LSU in the fifth.
Cole Freeman was hit by a pitch to force in the Tigers' first run. Reliever Logan Salow struck out Greg Deichmann for the second out, but yielded a two-run single to Nick Coomes.
Lange gave up seven hits over 5 2/3 innings. He walked eight and struck out seven.
Salow (1-3) was charged with the loss as he allowed one run on eight hits in 4.2 innings with no walks and six strikeouts.
Scheduled pitchers for Sunday' s game are LSU freshman right-hander Eric Walker (5-0, 2.48 ERA) and Kentucky sophomore right-hander Justin Lewis (5-2, 3.14).