UK suffers first series loss of season, swept by No. 2 LSU



Staff report | @KYKernelSports

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No. 7 UK baseball suffered its first series loss of the season at the hands of the second-ranked LSU Tigers, who completed the sweep Sunday with a 11-4 win in Baton Rouge, La.

Starting left-handed pitcher Corey Littrell dropped his first game of the year, moving his record to 4-1. Littrell surrendered a career-high nine runs (four earned) on nine hits through four innings. The junior struck out one batter and walked three.

Sophomore right-hander Chandler Shepherd relieved Littrell to start the fifth, logging three innings, two hits, one run and one walk. Senior right-hander Walter Wijas got the final two outs of the game for UK in the eighth inning.

Offensively, the Cats recorded nine hits. Sophomore A.J. Reed belted a two-strike, two-out, three-run homer in the seventh inning, his eighth pitch hit out of the park this season, good for the team high.

Other UK hits came courtesy of Austin Cousino, Zac Zellers, Max Kuhn, Micheal Thomas, Kyle Barrett, Matt Reida and Lucas Witt. Kuhn drove in Zellers in the first inning to put the Cats on the board.

The Tigers came out hot after UK took a 1-0 lead in the first, scoring five runs to take a 5-1 lead into the second.

LSU scored a run in the third inning, added three runs in the fourth and single runs in the seventh and eight, adding up to the final score of 11-4.

Sunday was more of the same, as the Tigers outdueled the Cats 9-1 on Saturday and 11-1 on Friday.

UK managed just four hits on Saturday against LSU’s ace Ryan Eades, who struck out six and was one out shy of a complete game. Eades improved his ERA to 1.30 on the season.

Senior left-handed pitched Jerad Grundy was dealt the loss for the Cats and dropped to 5-3 on the season. Grundy allowed career highs in hits (15) and runs (nine) through six innings of work.

On Friday, LSU racked up 10 two-out runs through the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to turn a 1-1 tie into a 11-1 romp.

Reed started as pitcher and suffered the loss, moving his record to 2-4 on the season. Reed pitched five innings, allowing eight hits and five runs (four earned), while walking two and striking out three.

Cousino drove in UK’s lone run in the top of the fifth, singling to centerfield to drive in Reida from second base.

The Cats drop to 22-9, 6-6 in SEC play, while the Tigers improve to 30-2 and a league-best 11-1 in SEC play. LSU is 22-1 at home on the season. UK is now 5-4 on the road.

The Cats return to Lexington to face Austin Peay on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. UK returns to SEC play Friday, when the Cats host Tennessee for a three-game series.