LSU sweeps Kentucky to clinch its spot in the College World Series

Published 9:44 pm Sunday, June 11, 2023

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU’s goal every baseball season is Omaha or bust. For the first time in a while, it’s Omaha.

Cade Beloso hit a three-run home run and Dylan Crews delivered a clutch two-run double in the ninth inning as LSU beat Kentucky 8-3 on Sunday to finish a two-game sweep of their NCAA Tournament super regional series at Alex Box Stadium.

LSU (48-15) clinched its 19th trip to the College World Series, and first since 2017. The six-year drought between appearances is the longest the program has gone since its first trip to Omaha in 1986.

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Kentucky (40-21) is the only member of the Southeastern Conference that has never reached the College World Series.

The Tigers improved to 5-0 in this year’s NCAA Tournament with a convincing sweep of SEC rival Kentucky. LSU won 14-0 in Game 1 on Saturday, and did not trail after the second inning in Game 2.

Kentucky took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a solo home run by Jackson Gray. LSU tied it in the second on an RBI fielder’s choice by Crews, then took the lead for good with four runs in the third — three of which came on Beloso’s home run to right centerfielder.

Kentucky clawed its way back into the game with solo home runs by Devin Burkes and Nolan McCarthy to cut it to 5-3 in the fourth inning, but LSU’s much-maligned bullpen kept the Wildcats at bay after that.

Riley Cooper and Gavin Guidry combined for six strikeouts and one walk in 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

LSU finally blew the game open with its three runs in the top of the ninth. Paxton Kling scored on a wild pitch, and Crews ripped a double to the wall in left field to bring in two runs and make it 8-3.