No.5 LSU wins its first game of the SEC tournament against South Carolina 10-3 in dominant fashion in Hoover, Ala.
LSU’s victory over the Gamecocks gave LSU head coach Jay Johnson his 400th win of his career. His record is 400-207 in 11 seasons at Point Loma Nazarene, Nevada, Arizona and LSU.
LSU starting pitcher Thatcher Hurd (5-2) was a huge reason why LSU was able to beat South Carolina. Hurd earned the victory as he hurled for 5.1 innings and fanned four Gamecock batters.
“It was a really good performance by our team,” Johnson said. “It starts with Thatcher. Great start. Had command of all his pitches. Really got himself reset when he got into any type of trouble, whether it was the count or runners on base, and he did a terrific job. We played a very clean game defensively, and when your pitcher pitches like that, it makes it much easier to do that.”
LSU reliever Nate Ackenhausen earned his second save of the season as he recorded six strikeouts and only allowed one hit in 3.2 innings.
“With Nate, we didn’t have him for a while this season (due to injury),” Johnson said. “Of all the games he’s pitched in, we’ve only lost one time when he’s pitched. So he’s a key part of the staff. I was really proud of him and how he executed today.”
South Carolina starting pitcher Eli Jones (4-5) was charged with the loss. Jones hurled for four innings and allowed four runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
LSU took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Brayden Jobert homered on a two-run dinger.
However, South Carolina would respond when right fielder Ethan Petry unloaded a solo homer off of Hurd for his 22nd of the year and to make the score 2-1 at the top of the fifth.
Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, LSU would counter South Carolina’s home run with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, as right fielder Josh Pearson and third baseman Tommy White each drew bases-loaded walks, and first baseman Tre’ Morgan and catcher Hayden Travinski recorded back-to-back sacrifice flys.
The Gamecocks cut into LSU’s lead to make the score 6-3 in the sixth when Petry and third baseman Talmadge LeCroy each drew one-out bases-loaded walks, one by Hurd and one by reliever Sam Dutton. Ackenhausen, however, entered the game and retired the side with two strikeouts without any damage with the bases loaded.
LSU stretched its lead to 8-3 in the bottom of the sixth when Morgan and Travinski each delivered RBI singles. The Tigers added two more runs in the seventh on run-scoring singles by centerfielder Dylan Crews and by White.
“Offensively, we did a little bit of everything we do pretty well today,” Johnson said. “We’re excited to get to tomorrow’s game after getting this one under our belt.”
LSU will take on Arkansas in the next round of the SEC tournament tomorrow at 4:30 CT at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala.