You never really know what a long rain delay is going to do to a team. In the past, we've seen LSU have some spectacular moments and out right duds after the tarp has been pulled. On Friday night, both teams were able to stay focused as LSU hung on to outlast Auburn for a 3-2 victory.
The people who seemed to be effected most by the delay were the starting pitchers. Jared Poché allowed Auburn to crack open the game with 2 runs off of 2 hits and a walk, but he settled down quickly to give LSU a good 5.2 IP outing with 8 hits, but no more runs than the two scored in the first. Likewise, Auburn starter Cole Lipscomb alowed LSU to get 2 runs in the 1st off of a pair of doubles by Mark Laird and Kade Scivicque and another run on an RBI single from Mar Laird in the 2nd. But then Lipscomb too would settle down as the Tiger bats were stymied, collecting 7 hits but no more runs as Lipscomb lasted through 7 IP. Hunter Newman came in in relief in the 5th inning and had an outing that was more like what we've expected since his Freshman year. Striking out 5 of the 11 batters he faced, including the full frame in the 6th, Newman earned enough confidence from Mainieri to stay out for the final 2 innings and record his first save of the year, saving a large chunck of the bullpen for the weekend ahead.
While the offense slowed, the LSU defense was red hot, possibly the best it's been this season. Bregman may have recorded his first error in a long time, but his play all night as a shortstop with seemingly unlimited range was spectacular. Andrew Stevenson played a liner off the wall so perfectly, the relay throw was able to get a runner at the plate. Connor Hale returned to action with a great performance at 3B. You would have expected some sloppy play after a 2 hour delay and a soggy field, but the Tigers were the opposite. That focus kept the tight game alive, preventing Auburn from making anything out of the hits they got off of Poché and Newman.
Saturday remains up in the air a bit. The weather looks bad for a 6:30 pm start and Sunday looks even worse. What's more, Alex Lange won't play due to "arm tightness" so Frosh reliever Austin Bain will get his first start, facing a tough task against Auburn's Keegan Thompson. We're going to find out very quickly if Bain is cut out for a starting role.