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Tigers Rally to Take Game One From Mississippi State

Morgan and Crews drive in four runs in the ninth

For the fourth consecutive weekend LSU (21-9, 5-5) found themselves in familiar territory: on the cusp of starting off a conference series down 1-0.

On the road against the defending national champion Mississippi State Bulldogs, LSU trailed 2-1 and was down to their final out, only this time the Tigers rallied back to take game one from Mississippi State 5-2.

Every good rally starts with a walk and that’s exactly what Hayden Travinski did in a pinch-hit situation (and drew it off a full count no less). Next, Josh Stevenson was hit by a pitch and suddenly LSU had two runners in scoring position—Collier Cranford would come on to pinch-run for Travinski— thanks to a wild pitch.

With a pair of runners in scoring position Tre’ Morgan would put the Tigers ahead 3-2 with a base hit to centerfield.

“Tre’ is the guy we want up in that situation for sure,” Jay Johnson said. “We had a feeling that he was going to see a slider right there, so we wanted Tre’ to sit on it and make sure it was up and over the plate. We didn’t want him to do too much; we didn’t need a homer, we needed a ball hit hard and low, and that’s what Tre’ did.”

But LSU’s other star sophomore, Dylan Crews, decided that actually LSU did need a homer and took it upon himself to take Mississippi State’s Brooks Auger deep to right which gave the Tigers a 5-2 lead.

We also need to praise the efforts of the LSU pitching staff, especially the bullpen. Ma’Khail Hilliard got the start instead of Blake Money and was good enough: six innings of work and despite giving up 10 hits, Mississippi State could only tag Hilliard for a pair of runs.

“Ma’Khail executed the game plan the way we wanted him to,” Johnson said. “He’s tough, and we need toughness to win a series. If we have to win a game, he’s the guys we want on the mound.”

The combined efforts of Eric Reyzelman, Riley Cooper (who was credited with the win), and Paul Gervase, however, was nearly perfect. The trio only faced 10 batters and, but for one walk issued by Reyzelman, allowed zero baserunners. Reyzelman in particular was clutch as he came on in place of Hilliard with runners on second and third and was able to get out of the inning with a groundout and a pair of Ks.

LSU now finds themselves in a situation they haven’t been in all season: ahead in an SEC series. The Tigers will get a chance to take the series from Mississippi State on Saturday as Blake Money takes the mound at 2:00 P.M.