No.1 LSU could not clinch the series at Plainsman Park Saturday night as the Tigers lost to Auburn, 8-6.
Auburn improved to 26-19-1 overall, 10-13 in the SEC, while top-ranked LSU dropped to 37-9 overall and 16-6 in conference play. The loss ended LSU’s eight-game SEC win streak, the Tigers’ longest since 2017.
The big difference in the game was LSU’s pitchers also could not find the strikeout zone, as Auburn scored three runs on five walks and a wild pitch in the fourth inning.
Another thing that plagued LSU is that they went 8-for-22 with runners on 6-for-16 with runners in scoring position. Considering that Auburn had 12 attempts with runners on and 11 attempts with runners in scoring position, LSU did not take care of business when it mattered most.
“We’ve got to be ready for tomorrow,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “Looking at tonight’s game, we could have commanded the baseball better from the mound, and we could have slowed down a little bit better at the plate with runners in scoring position. We needed better strike zone pressure, and we could have slowed down at the plate with runners on base, but those are all controllable.
LSU drew first blood when it grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning when catcher Hayden Travinski lined a two-out RBI single, bringing home shortstop Jordan Thompson, who had reached earlier on a throwing error by Auburn third baseman Bryson Ware.
The Tigers would strike again in the third when third baseman Tommy White delivered a run-scoring single to extend LSU’s lead to 2-0
In the fourth inning, Auburn would take its first lead of the game when the Tigers scored three runs with the benefit of five walks and a wild pitch, sending nine men to the plate and taking a 3-2 lead.
LSU, however, regained the lead in the top of the fifth when designated hitter Cade Beloso did what he does best and lined a two-out, two-run single to right field.
Auburn struck for four runs on three hits and a sac fly in the sixth inning. Auburn pinch hitter Brody Wortham, catcher Nate LaRue and right fielder Bobby Peirce each provided RBI singles and designated hitter Ike Irish lifted a sacrifice fly.
However, LSU would try to stage a late rally. LSU catcher Hayden Travinski launched a solo homer – his third dinger of the season – in the seventh to narrow the gap to 7-5, but Ware hit his 19th homer of the year in the bottom of the inning to give Auburn another three-run advantage.
LSU added a run in the eighth and had runners at first and second with two outs in the top of the ninth, but Auburn reliever Will Cannon struck out left fielder Tre’ Morgan to end the game.
Cannon earned his fifth save of the season, as he worked the final 3.0 innings and allowed two runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Auburn left-hander Zach Crotchfelt (1-2) earned his first win of the season after he recorded the final out in the top of the sixth inning.
Left-hander Javen Coleman (1-1), the third of six LSU pitchers that took the mound, was charged with his first loss of the season as he allowed two runs on no hits in 1.0 inning with two walks and one strikeout.
Both Auburn and LSU are both looking to clinch the series tomorrow in a winner-take-all game. The game will be streamed on SEC Network+ at 1 p.m. CT.