BATON ROUGE, La. -- No.2 LSU (28-2, 9-1 SEC) matched the greatest start in school history with an 11-1 victory over No. 7 Kentucky (22-7, 6-4 SEC) Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.
LSU’s 28-2 start matches the 1986 Tigers’ 28-2 record through their first 30 games. Game 2 of the series between the Tigers and Wildcats is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.
“It’s a very significant accomplishment to match the best start in LSU history, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “The final score is a little misleading, because this was a very competitive ball game for most of the night. Kentucky has an excellent ball club, and I’ll allow our players to celebrate this one for about an hour before we turn the page and focus on the next game.”
The Tigers’ offensive surge began in the third inning after a sacrifice fly from shortstop Alex Bregman scored catcher Ty Ross (2-for-3) from third base.
Kentucky answered in the fifth inning with their only run of the night on an RBI single from center fielder Austin Cousino, tying the game at 1-1.
LSU exploded for four runs in the fifth with an RBI single from Christian Ibarra and a two-RBI single from second baseman JaCoby Jones (3-for-5), putting the Tigers ahead for good.
Outfielder Raph Rhymes and first baseman Mason Katz added insurance runs in the sixth with RBI hits of their own, increasing the Tigers’ lead to 8-1.
Bregman extended his hitting streak to 18 games with an RBI triple in the seventh inning. He leads all SEC hitters with 56 hits on the season.
LSU starting pitcher Aaron Nola (5-0) was spectacular on the mound again, allowing one run on four hits and three walks while striking out seven.
“Aaron was really the key to the game,” Mainieri said. “ He had a no-hitter through the first four innings and just gave us a tremendous effort.”
Kentucky starter A.J. Reed (2-4) suffered the loss allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks and three strikeouts.
LSU right-hander Will LaMarche closed the door with two shutout innings of work while allowing just one hit.