LEXINGTON, Ky. – Justin Lewis (pictured with catcher Troy Squires) and the Kentucky defense stayed steady behind a relentless offense as the No. 10 Wildcats took their fifth Southeastern Conference series of the season, defeating No. 8 LSU 10-2 on a cloudy, windy day at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Cats (28-13, 12-6 SEC), winners in six of the last eight games, retain their two-game lead over Florida in the SEC East with 12 conference games remaining. They will travel to South Carolina, which sits three games back, next weekend.
UK’s offense wasted no time attacking the Tigers (27-14, 10-8) as they got the game started with three straight hits. Zach Reks, who tied his career-high for hits in a game with four, broke the scoring open with an RBI double down the left-field line in the bottom of the first inning. Three other Wildcats came around to score in the inning as the Cats jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
In the first complete game of his career, Lewis collected six strikeouts and limited the Tigers to six hits and a walk. As a commanding presence on the mound, the sophomore right-hander didn’t allow any base runners in the first, fourth, fifth, and final two innings on the way to his sixth win of the season.
UK’s top five hitters went a combined 15-for-23 at the plate with six RBI. Kole Cottam and Riley Mahan extended UK’s lead in the bottom of the third inning with back-to-back home runs, which hasn’t happened since Evan White and Reks did it against Murray State last season. Cottam, who has now homered in back-to-back games, racked up three RBI – just one shy from his career-high of four he set at Mississippi State two weeks ago. Mahan went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and two runs. The junior infielder picked up nine hits in his 12 at bats during the series.
With his three hits today and 197 for his career, White passed former Wildcat star A.J. Reed for 16th place on UK’s all-time career hit list. White jumpstarted three more Wildcat runs in the bottom of the fourth inning with a double. Cottam added his double to right-center field, which drove in Reks, and Becker hit into a fielder’s choice to bring in Cottam.
The Cats are now 19-3 at home this season.
The Cats went 3-1 this week against Top 10 teams: No. 2 Louisville (1-0), No. 8 LSU (2-1).
UK is 14-9 vs. ranked foes this season.
UK has taken the last two regular-season series over LSU.
Kentucky is 18-17 against LSU in Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the third inning from Kole Cottam and Riley Mahan were the first since Evan White and Zach Reks against Murray State on May 17, 2016.
Junior IF Riley Mahan went 3-for-4 with a homerun, two runs, and two RBI.
Mahan has 18 multi-hit games this season and 35 for his career.
Went 9-for-12 at the plate with two doubles, a home run, four runs, six RBI, a hit by pitch, two intention walks, and reached base in 12-of-15 plate appearances in the series.
Mahan finished 11-16 for the week, reaching base safely 14-of-19 times.
Junior 1B Evan White went 3-for-4 with a run, double and a walk.
White now has 197 career hits, passing A.J. Reed for 16th on UK’s all-time career hit list.
White has a hit in 17 of his last 18 games.
White now has 15 multi-hit games this season and 59 for his career.
He currently has an eight-game hitting streak.
Sophomore C Kole Cottam went 2-for-5 with a two-run home run and three RBI.
Cottam’s three-RBI game is the second-highest of his career (4).
It was Cottam’s third home run of the season and fourth of his career.
Cottam has homered in back-to-back games, making him the first UK player to do that since Connor Heady vs. Miami (OH) on March 12 & 14 this season.
Sophomore OF Tristan Pompey went 3-for-5 with a run and a walk.
Pompey now has hit safely in 28 of his past 30 games.
Pompey is currently riding a career-long 12-game hitting streak.
Pompey has 16 multi-hit games this season and 23 for his career.
Junior IF Luke Becker 1-for-4 with three RBI, giving him 8 RBI for the series.
Senior OF Zach Reks tied his career high in hits, going 4-for-5 with three runs, an RBI, and a double
It was Reks’ 17th multi-hit performance of the season and 28th of his career.
Eclipsed the 100-hit mark in his two years as a Wildcat with 102.
Kentucky will host Xavier in a mid-week affair at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26 at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Fans can listen on the UK Sports Network via UKathletics.com and iHeart Radio, as well as on 630 AM WLAP, and watch on the SEC Network.
Photo by Quinn Foster, UK Athletics