After Saturday night’s 8-6 loss, War Eagle nation had hope that their Tigers could pull off the upset series win in Sunday’s contest.
Auburn hoped its hot bats and LSU’s shaky bottom of the bullpen would be the difference. That idea came true on Sunday with a 12-2 run rule and series clinching victory.
LSU jumped to an early lead behind Gavin Dugas’ solo home run on the third pitch of the game. Dugas finished the game 1 for 3 at the plate with two runs scored and was hit by a pitch. The home run was his 12th of the season.
Auburn quickly responded with six first inning runs against junior right hander and starter Christian Little. Little struggled to find the strike zone and threw very few strikes in his first 20 pitches. He allowed five runs on one hit and was charged with the loss. His record drops to 2-2 on the year.
Junior right hander Garrett Edwards was called in and struggled as well. He only threw 14 pitches and allowed a run in the six-run rally. LSU’s first two pitchers threw a combined six walks in the first inning alone.
“We walked six guys in the first inning, and that’s a tough hole to climb out of,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson in a release. “So we start there, and then Herberholz did a nice job for them on the mound; he executed his pitches.
Freshman right hander Gavin Guidry relieved Edwards in the first inning. Guidry was a major change on the mound right away and got the Bayou Bengals out of the jam with the scoreboard reading 6-1.
He also threw LSU’s first strikeout which was a much-needed confidence booster at the time. Guidry lasted 3.1 innings with four total strikeouts and allowed two runs on two hits.
On just the third pitch of the game, Tre’ Morgan blasted a home run over the right field wall giving LSU an early lead it never let go of.
“I never feel like we’re out of a game, but that first inning makes it a little more difficult. Our pitchers don’t have to be perfect, they just need to be solid, and we weren’t solid today,” Johnson said.
Auburn’s duo of first baseman Cooper McMurray and centerfielder Casen Howell were the biggest difference. They combined for eight RBIs on five hits and scored two runs. LSU’s pitching was lackluster to start, and Auburn took advantage.
Auburn’s starting pitcher, junior right hander Christian Herberholz, brought his A-game against LSU. He threw 90 total pitches in five innings with four strikeouts and only allowed two runs on five hits. Herberholz was credited with his first win of the year and his record improved to 1-3.
Left-handed freshman Drew Nelson squashed any chance of a comeback and earned the save. Nelson threw 40 pitches over the course of three innings with three strikeouts. He did not allow a single run with one hit.
Sophomore third baseman Tommy White, freshman right fielder Paxton Kling and junior centerfielder Dylan Crews all contributed at the plate, but it was not enough. White’s fifth inning RBI single was the only other run LSU could muster at the plate and decreased the deficit to 9-2 at the time.
Howell and McMurray finished LSU off in the bottom half of the game. Howell blasted two RBI triples to widen Auburn’s lead to 11-2. The NCAA’s 10-run rule went into effect after McMurray’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Auburn improves to 27-19-1 overall and 11-13 in the SEC. LSU’s record falls to 37-10 overall and 16-7 against SEC opponents.
LSU baseball returns home to Baton Rouge on Tuesday for a game against Northwestern State and then will remain in Baton Rouge for a three-game series against Mississippi State starting on Friday.