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4 Things to Know From UK Baseball’s Friday Doubleheader with LSU

UK Athletics

After a huge upset victory over Louisville earlier this week, the no. 10 Bat Cats faced another stiff test against the no. 8 LSU Tigers at the Cliff.

While UK didn't score a decisive knockout punch in the two games Friday, they did manage to draw one of the best teams in the SEC to set up the rubber match on Sunday.

Kentucky (27-13, 11-6) clobbered the ball in Game 1 to win going away 12-5. The Bayou Bengals overcame an early 3-0 hole to clinch Game 2, 4-3.

Mahan Mauled the Ball

Junior infielder Riley Mahan entered the game bashing the cover off the ball, and he continued to do so against the Tigers.

In game one of the doubleheader, Mahan went a career-best 5-of-5 at the plate, including a pair of doubles and three RBI's. Mahan also scored a run.

Mahan cooled down in the second game, however. He went 1-of-3 and drew two walks.

His 6-of-8 performance also bumped his batting average up to .325. Mahan is tied for the team lead in homers with six and leads the Bat Cats with 39 RBI's. His 17 doubles are good for second best in the SEC.

Sean Hjelle Tossed Another Gem in Game One

The 6-11 right-hander has given Nick Mingione's team a rock-solid Friday starter this season, and against LSU Hjelle came up big again.

In six innings, Hjelle only gave up five hits and three unearned runs. His five walks are not as problematic as they look on the stats sheet because several were strategic in nature. Hjelle also struck out three Tigers.

The victory was the sixth of the campaign for the Minnesotan. He leads the Cats with 62.2 innings pitched and strikeouts with 57.

Stranded Base Runners Cost the Cats in Game Two

LSU deserves to be commended for a tremendous comeback during the nightcap, but the Tigers were aided immensely by Kentucky's paltry performance with runners on base.

Kentucky finished the night a collective 2-of-16 with runners in scoring position and 4-of-21 with runners on base.

The Cats loaded the bases three times in the second, third, and fourth innings and only brought home one run. They also had the tying run ninety feet away in the bottom of the eighth with one out and a runner on in the final frame.

LSU first baseman Nick Comes robbed the home team twice with spectacular catches in the final two innings.

The Win in Game Win is Still Huge for the Program

Coupled with the pounding of archrival Louisville earlier this week, Kentucky now has two wins over top ten teams in less than seven days; bringing their record to 2-1 against carrying that distinction.

The Cats are also 13-9 against ranked competition this season. Meaning that over half of their games have come against the cream of the crop in college baseball.

If UK can keep rolling against quality foes there is an excellent chance they will get to a host a regional round in the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in school history.