LSU baseball team sweeps Kentucky

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- LSU first baseman Mason Katz, left, high-fives right fielder Sean McMullen after he scored against Kentucky on Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Alex Box Stadium.
Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- LSU first baseman Mason Katz, left, high-fives right fielder Sean McMullen after he scored against Kentucky on Sunday, April 7, 2013, in Alex Box Stadium.

It was another weekend and another sweep of a Southeastern Conference series for the record-setting LSU baseball team.

The No. 2 Tigers finished their third consecutive sweep of a league opponent by beating No. 9 Kentucky 11-4 on Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium.

LSU, which beat the Wildcats 11-1 on Friday and 9-1 on Saturday, did to them what it did to Missouri on the road a week earlier and to Auburn at Alex Box the week before that.

The Tigers won their 12th straight to improve to a school-record 30-2 and 11-1 in SEC play, matching the school-record league starts of the 1991 and ’96 teams.

LSU plays Southern in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Zephyr Field in Metairie. Kentucky fell to 22-9 and 6-6.

“It was a good weekend for us,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “It’s one thing to win the games, but it’s another to play with such spirit and enthusiasm and have your heads on right and play smart. We played with great competitive zeal and at the same time I thought we played with great poise and composure.”

JaCoby Jones homered and drove in four runs, Alex Bregman drove in three and Mason Katz and Christian Ibarra drove in two each to lead the offense. Jones, who was batting .188 entering the series, went 8-for-13 this weekend to raise his average 51 points. He also drove in six runs.

“I knew it would happen sooner or later; I can’t hit .190 the whole year,” said Jones, who had a .291 batting average his previous two seasons. “I’ve been hitting the ball hard all year and, when it doesn’t fall in, it’s frustrating. ... I knew I would have a good weekend soon, and this was it.”

It was a good weekend for leadoff hitter Sean McMullen, too: He reached base 10 times after going 1-for-2 with two walks and getting hit by a pitch for the third straight game Sunday.

For the series, the Tigers outscored the Wildcats 31-6 and out-hit them 41-18. They scored nine or more runs in all three games of an SEC series for the first time since a 2008 series against Mississippi State.

LSU’s starting pitcher got the win in all three games. Cody Glenn (5-1) bounced back to pitch six solid innings Sunday, allowing six hits and one run. He lasted just 1.2 innings against Missouri last Sunday, giving up five runs as he allowed three hits and a walk and hit three batters.

“Last week, actually I wasn’t too disappointed with my control for about 70 percent of the time,” he said. “I’d throw two good pitches, then I’d ruin it by hitting a batter. Just lowering the number of mistake pitches was a key adjustment this week, and I was able to do that.”

Kentucky took its only lead of the series when Max Kuhn singled home Zac Zellers in the first inning. LSU responded immediately with five. McMullen led off with his third double in two games, Mark Laird sacrificed him to third and Laird reached when the throw from pitcher Corey Littrell (4-1) pulled A.J. Reed off first base.

Bregman tripled to center to give the Tigers the lead and extend his hitting streak to 20 games. Katz’s sacrifice fly brought home Bregman and raised Katz’s NCAA-leading RBI total to a career-high 54.

Ibarra doubled, and Jones followed with his third homer of the season, a drive that landed beyond the bleachers in left field, to make it 5-1.

Jones’ RBI single increased the lead to 6-1 in the third. Katz had an RBI single, and Ibarra added a two-run single in the fourth.

Nick Rumbelow relieved Glenn to start the seventh and surrendered Reed’s eighth homer of the season, with two on base, to cut the lead to 9-4.

Joey Bourgeois relieved and got the final out in the seventh before putting two runners on with one out in the eighth. Chris Cotton came in and got a first-pitch double play, then pitched a perfect ninth.

“I was hoping Cody would get us through four or five innings,” Mainieri said. “He really did more than we hoped he would do.”

Jones’ RBI double off the top of the wall in left made it 10-4 in the seventh, and Bregman’s sacrifice fly in the eighth completed the scoring.

LSU played errorless ball over the weekend and scored more unearned runs (eight) than Kentucky had total runs (six). The Wildcats, who committed two errors Sunday, had won their first three SEC series.

“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Paul and his kids,” Kentucky coach Gary Henderson said. “That’s a very accomplished group. They have very good starting pitching. I thought they competed really well at the plate and played really good team defense.”