LSU Baseball Survives Back and Forth With Auburn to Win Series 9-6

Tigers put together late offensive surge to close out series against Auburn
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In what was a tremendous back and forth game, it was LSU that got the last laugh with a late offensive surge that was enough to win a much needed series over Auburn in 9-6 fashion. 

Every time Auburn or LSU took a lead, it wouldn't last long, which became the main theme of the game. LSU would take a 2-0 lead that would be matched. Auburn took a 3-2 which would get tied two innings later.

A 5-3 Auburn lead was not only matched in the seventh but exceeded as Dylan Crews, Cade Doughty and Giovanni DiGiacomo put together RBI hits in the seventh to take the 6-5 lead and never look back. On the evening, LSU went 5-for-11 at the plate with runners in scoring position.

The go ahead run for the purple and gold came in the eighth when Drew Bianco blasted a single into center field and was able to get to third before a passed ball brought him all the way home. Bianco has come through multiple times over the last several games but none moreso than the eighth inning rally. Freshman shortstop Jordan Thompson would tack on much needed insurance runs with an absolutely crushed home run to create some separation.

"All of us know that we're never really out of a game," Thompson said. "Everyone was focused on every pitch and that's what you have to do in games like that. Everything had to be perfect because it was so close.

"I know sometimes it falls on deaf ears but I feel like we've been improving with each passing game," coach Paul Mainieri said. "I think we've been competing really hard and little things here and there have kept us from having a better record."

Labas didn't have his best stuff early as an explosive Auburn offense was able to tattoo the Tigers' junior for two solo home runs in the first inning. One of the SEC's leaders in hits this season, Ryan Bliss, also got to Labas for a third solo home run in the third inning, propelling Auburn to a 3-2 lead. 

It just wasn't the kind of performance that Labas has been accustomed to as just two weeks ago he went nine innings in a 7-2 win over Ole Miss. His velocity has never been overpowering, which means he's always relying on location and Auburn made him pay in the early going of his outing. 

But he was able to keep the game within reach for the LSU hitters as he remained extremely calm when facing adversity. After allowing a double and issuing a walk, Labas struck out the final batter in the fourth to keep it a one run game. In the fifth, Labas allowed a runner to get all the way to third but once again, a clutch strikeout ended the inning to keep the game tied.

In the sixth, another missed pitch from Labas led to a fourth Auburn home run to put LSU in a 5-3 hole that would end Labas' night allowing five runs on nine hits with five strikeouts.

As for the LSU offense, Auburn very much showed what a midweek performance looks like for the purple and gold as Auburn used three different pitchers in the first three innings of the game. After a two run first inning that set the tone for the top of the lineup, LSU wasn't able to catch much of a spark over the course of the next three innings of play.

The offense started to come together in the fifth as an error and single for Tre Morgan, who has gone 6-of-9 at the plate this weekend, put two runners on base. Dylan Crews also added a pair of hits to go along with Morgan and Thompson's multi hit evening. 

 

Devin Fontenot entered in the seventh and was able to close out the contest over the final few innings to clinch the win, consistently pumping 93-94 mph fastballs. 

"It was a good win and it shows the character of our team being able to fight back," Fontenot said. "We know what's at stake and we're gonna keep fighting it. Now we've gotta turn our attention to tomorrow."

LSU will look to sweep the series on Saturday afternoon.