Pinch hitter Josh Pearson would record his first home run of the year when he blasted a two-run dinger to break a 5-5 tie in the 12th inning to push the Tigers to an 8-5 victory.
LSU improved to 41-12 overall and 18-9 in the SEC, while Georgia dropped to 28-25 overall and 10-18 in conference play. The Tigers hit six home runs in Thursday night’s game, their most since collecting six dingers on March 14, 2021, versus UT San Antonio in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
With the game tied at 5-5 at the top of the 12th inning, designated hitter Hyaden Travinski got on base as the game-winning baserunner when he lined a leadoff double. Following Travinski’s at-bat, Pearson and shortstop Jordan Thompson launched back-to-back dingers to give LSU an 8-5 lead. Thompson’s home run was his second of the game and his 11th of the season.
“Hayden gave us a great lead-off at-bat in the 12th, and that was a great swing by Josh,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “We had good at-bats throughout the night, and it started paying off with the results late in the game.
LSU reliever Thatcher Hurd (4-2) picked up the win for the Tigers. Hurd came in relief for Riley Cooper and hurled the last five innings of the game, allowing two runs (all earned) on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Hurd retired eight straight batters over the final 2.2 innings to secure the victory.
“Thatcher was great, he competed, he was sound and produced a great tempo,” Johnson said. “He really pitched well tonight.”
Georgia reliever Chandler Marsh (1-3) was charged with the loss, as he surrendered two runs on two hits in 2.0 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
LSU starting pitcher Paul Skenes pitched seven innings, limiting Georgia to just two runs on four hits with one walk and 12 strikeouts. Skenes is the nation’s leader in strikeouts with 164 punchouts next to his name this season, which ranks No. 2 on the all-time LSU single-season list. College Baseball hall-of-famer Ben McDonald holds the LSU single-season mark with 202 Ks in 1989.
LSU grabbed the first lead of the game in the second inning when right fielder Brayden Jobert launched a two-run homer – his ninth of the year — after Thompson had walked and stole second and third base to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Georgia would tie the game in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run blast by catcher Will David, his sixth home run of the season.
Solo home runs by Travinski and by Thompson in the top of the eighth allowed the Tigers to take a 4-2 lead before Georgia narrowed the gap to 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth when LSU misplayed a two-out grounder by designated hitter Fernando Gonzalez, allowing centerfielder Ben Anderson to score from third.
LSU centerfielder Dylan Crews launched his 14th homer of the season in the top of the ninth to increase LSU’s lead to 5-3, but the Bulldogs tied the contest in the bottom of the inning when Georgia shortstop Sebastian Murillo and Anderson hit back-to-back home runs to tie the game at 5-5.
However, back-to-back homers from Pearson and Thompson at the top of the 12th put the game out of reach and Hurd retired the side in order, striking out Georgia first baseman Charlie Condon to end the game.
LSU will look to clinch the series tomorrow when they take on the Bulldogs once again on Friday at 5 p.m. at Foley Field in Athens, Ga.