2.15.19 LSU v ULM

LSU sophomore pitcher Eric Walker (10) pitches in the fifth inning during the Tigers' 12-7 win against ULM on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, at Alex Box Stadium.

Eric Walker walked off the field to thunderous cheers from fans in Alex Box Stadium in the seventh inning of LSU's 7-1 win over Auburn. 

The junior right-hander was the key in the Tigers' win, pitching six full innings with one earned run and five strikeouts. 

"Eric Walker was the key to the game," Mainieri said. "In the first inning, he threw a lot of pitches... I felt confident that our guys were going to swing the bats and Eric was going to settle in. He found it and I though he was really great."

Walker and LSU got down early as a triple and sac fly gave Auburn a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. 

Despite giving up that first run, junior right-handed pitcher Eric Walker pitched one of his best games of the season. Mainieri said he was worried when Walker had 41 pitches through two innings, but he settled in after that. 

"The best I've done this year is when I've just relaxed and not tried to do too much," Walker said. "I was just trying to do too much, bottom line. I tried to relax and stay within myself and I felt a lot better after the first inning."

LSU's offense struggled with Auburn left-handed pitcher Elliott Anderson the first time through the order, but like Walker, the Tigers found their groove the second time around. 

Mainieri just walked them to stick to an aggressive approach the next time around

After going hitless through eight batters, catcher Saul Garza opened the flood gates with a two-out single in the bottom of the third inning. 

Things were different for the rest of the lineup the second time around the order. 

LSU then hit four two-out singles in a row from Josh Smith, Zach Watson and Daniel Cabrera gave LSU a 3-1 lead. An Auburn error on a Chris Reid chopper up the middle added another run, making it 4-1 going into the fourth inning. 

The Tigers also added three solo homeruns from designated hitter Cade Beloso, Garza and right fielder Antoine Duplantis. 

"Seeing a guy for the first time, you start to pick up on his tendencies and seeing his pitches really," Beloso said. "I think we had a really good plan tonight and we stuck to it off a pretty good lefty." 

Garza had himself a night, going 3-for-4 with two singles and that solo homerun. His solo bomb went 434 feet and over the left field bleachers. 

"It will be very beneficial to our team if Saul Garza has a lot of days like that the rest of the year," Mainieri said. "That would be a good thing for us."

As LSU battles to host an NCAA regional, the entire team understands that it must close the regular season on a strong note to get there. 

"I think the players understand what's at stake," Mainieri said. "Auburn still has their top two starting pitchers that they're going to throw us the next two days. They know the challenge. It's a nice victory and I'm glad we got it, and now we need to show that we can play consecutive days in a row." 

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