LSU Baseball vs. McNeese

LSU baseball redshirt junior outfield Brayden Jobert (6) touches third base Tuesday, May 16, 2023, during LSU’s 7-4 win against McNeese State University at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

On Wednesday morning, LSU baseball came away with a 10-3 win over South Carolina in its opening matchup of the SEC baseball tournament.

With this win, the Tigers will play the winner of No. 2 seed Arkansas and No. 10 seed Texas A&M. Texas A&M is coming off a 3-0 win over No. 7 seed Tennessee in the first round of the tournament. 

Coming into the SEC tournament, the biggest question mark many fans had was how the pitching would perform. Paul Skenes will likely only pitch when LSU really needs to use him in this tournament, so Thatcher Hurd got the start for LSU in the opener, and he held the fort down.

“I thought I was able to command the fastball, just go right at them,” Hurd said. “You build off every outing, so we’ll continue to attack the strike zone.”

Hurd went 5.1 innings with four strikeouts while giving up two runs on four hits. Two of those four hits came in the sixth inning just before he was pulled from the game. He held South Carolina hitless through the first three innings of the game. He threw 100 pitches.

The LSU offense did its job as well with 12 hits and 10 runs.

Brayden Jobert got the team rolling with a two run home run with two outs in the second inning. He finished two for three on the day with a home run, a single and two RBIs.

“I feel like we were firing on all cylinders today, that just happened to be the start of it,” Jobert said. “We have amazing players one through nine, and if we just play our ball, nobody can compete with us.”

Josh Pearson hit second in the lineup on Wednesday, and he came through going two for four with two singles.

But the entire offense saw everything piece together in both the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Jobert, Gavin Dugas and Dylan Crews got the fifth inning started with three straight singles, and the Tigers came out of the inning with four runs.

In the sixth, Crews got it started once again with a single, and Tre’ Morgan hit him in with a two-out single. Hayden Travinski then singled to left field and scored Pearson. Crews finished the day going two for four with two singles. Morgan and Travinski each finished with two RBIs.

In the seventh, Paxton Kling came into pinch run for Jobert, and two pass-balls got him to third. Dylan Crews hit a single and allowed him to score, and Tommy White hit a single and allowed Gavin Dugas to score. White also finished two for four with two singles and two RBIs.

The Tigers scored eight of their 10 runs in those three innings combined. 

The offense didn’t do anything extreme. In fact the Tigers only had one extra base hit the whole game. 

South Carolina was held to five hits on the day. Ethan Petry went one for three with two RBIs and a home run in the fifth inning. Michael Braswell, Braylen Wimmer, Talmadge LeCroy and Dylan Brewer all had hits for the Gamecocks.

After Hurd came out of the game, the LSU bullpen got a little shaky once again and South Carolina was able to stay in it. Sam Dutton exited the game after only pitching five pitches and walking his only batter faced, which scored a run.

But Nate Ackenhausen then came in to pitch in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and one out. A strikeout and a put out got him out of that inning with no further damage.

He seemed to finish the job Hurd started, going 3.2 innings with six strikeouts while giving up just one hit and zero runs. He threw 58 total pitches.

“It was a good day from the mound, those guys don’t have to be perfect,” Johnson said. “Really it’s just about execution from the mound.”

It’s now a waiting game for the Tigers to see who they will play. Who they will start on the mound, their lineup choice and more will depend on their opponent. 

“You’re going to want to come to tomorrow’s game,” Johnson said.

The Tigers will take the field in Hoover once again on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. C.T., and the game will be aired live on the SEC Network.

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