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No. 2 Kentucky baseball decimated 11-0 by LSU in SEC Tournament

Isaiah Pinto
Kentucky Wildcats third baseman Ethan Hindle rounds third base during the Kentucky vs. Eastern Kentucky baseball game on Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2024, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 10-0. Photo by Isaiah Pinto | Staff

No. 2 Kentucky baseball (39-13, 22-9 SEC) was decimated by LSU (37-20, 14-17 SEC) in its first game of the SEC Tournament by a score of 11-0 in run rule fashion. 

The Wildcats simply had no answers for the Tiger hitters or pitchers. 

”I tip my cap to their starter,” Kentucky head coach Nick Mingione said. “He did a great job, kept a really good offense off balance for a long period of time.”

Kentucky players celebrate a home run during the Kentucky vs Western Kentucky baseball game on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 5-0. Photo by Sydney Yonker | Staff (Sydney Yonker)

The Bat Cats started down 1-0 after Travis Smith got the start for the Wildcats and gave up a leadoff home run to Michael Braswell III. 

Smith got out of the first, but gave up a leadoff double in the second, which ended his afternoon as Robert Hogan came on in relief. Braswell III grounded out to bring home Ashton Larson to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Hogan went on to give the Wildcats three scoreless innings out of the bullpen. 

Johnny Hummel followed him and threw up two scoreless innings. 

The Bat Cats entered as one of the best offenses in the SEC and were dominated by the Tigers’ ace Luke Holman, who pitched six no hit innings.

”The second he started landing the curveball for a strike and spotting his fastball, it became really difficult,” Mingione said. 

Kentucky had some traffic on the bases through Holman’s innings, but it was unable to get that hit that put runs on the board as the score stuck at 2-0 for six innings. 

Dominic Niman took over in the top of the seventh and struck out Larson for the first out before he walked Alex Milazzo and Braswell III before being pulled for Cameron O’Brien with Tommy “Tanks” White coming up. After a foul and a ball, Mingione intentionally walked White to load the bases. 

Jared Jones made the Wildcats pay by depositing a grand slam over the left field wall that gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead. 

Kentucky first baseman Ryan Nicholson during the Kentucky vs Tennessee baseball game on Saturday, April 20, 2024 at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky lost 9-4. Photo by Sydney Yonker | Staff (Sydney Yonker)

O’Brien got another out before giving up another home run, this time Hayden Travinski was the one who hit one over the left field wall. 

After Holman was relieved by Gavin Guidry, Mitchell Daly broke up the no-hit bid with a single to left field. 

Jake Titus relieved O’Brien and got the first out before a walk, single and hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for White, who crushed LSU’s second grand slam of the game over the right field wall to blow the game open as it extended the Tiger lead to 11-0. 

“We had the game we wanted,” Mingione said. “We pieced it together exactly right and then it got away from us. They got the hits when they needed it, so tip your cap to them.”

Kentucky was unable to plate the two runs needed to keep the game alive, so the mercy rule went into effect, ending the game. 

With the loss, the Bat Cats will now play in win-or-go-home games until they either lose another game or win the tournament. 

The Wildcats will take on the loser of South Carolina and Arkansas in an elimination game on Thursday, May 22, with first pitch scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET.

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Jonathon Bruner, Assistant Sports Editor

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