Landon Marceaux, Late Clutch Hitting Propel LSU Baseball to 8-3 Game One Win Over Auburn

Tre Morgan collects four hits, Marceaux strikes out 11 in win for purple and gold
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Fueled by another close to flawless pitching performance from ace Landon Marceaux, LSU was able to scrape together enough offense to pull out a 8-3 game one win over the home Auburn Tigers. 

LSU (28-17, 8-14) got to Auburn starter Jack Owen in the third inning as the first five batters in the inning reached base, starting with a double from nine hole hitter Alex Milazzo. Turning the order over, the top hitters in Tre Morgan, Dylan Crews, Gavin Dugas and Cade Doughty were able to put together three runs to give Marceaux an early lead. 

Situational hitting has been an issue at times for this LSU offense but over the last several weeks it's been an area that's much improved. It was also the start of what would be a great day at the plate for Morgan, who went 4-for-5 on the evening with a pair of RBI. 

What the hitters did more than anything was show patience and not chase balls out of the zone, forcing Owen into over 75 pitches by the fifth inning and drawing a total of three free bases via walk and hit by pitch. That patience would be tested once again in the eighth in a one run game but the purple and gold would respond with more clutch hits from Morgan and Milazzo.

In total, LSU would go 5-for-10 on the evening with runners in scoring position.

Marceaux had all of his pitches in sync against an Auburn offense that has not been the issue for much of its season. The junior ace was forcing swinging strikeouts by mixing up his curveball and slider, combining for 11 strikeouts in six innings of work, one off his career high. Most of those strikeouts came with hitters swinging in the dirt, speaking to the movement he was creating on those offspeed pitches.

His biggest challenge came in the fifth as a leadoff double in a 3-1 game was a major threat with the top of the order due up. But LSU's ace came through by forcing Ryan Bliss, one of the conference's best hitters into a groundout after a nine pitch at bat and striking out Tyler Miller, the conference leader in RBI to strand a runner at third. 

Marceaux even received a mound visit from Mainieri after that battle with Bliss, which shocked him because usually a visit from Mainieri means he's coming out.

"He had battled that kid and I told Alan Dunn, I'm just gonna slow the game down a little bit, let him catch his breath," Mainieri said. "Marceaux turned around and his eyes got real big like 'what are you doing out here?' I said I just thought I'd come visit you for a little while.

"That was one of the more interesting conversations I've had on the mound," Marceaux said. "It was nothing serious, it wasn't even about the game itself. He was just coming out and giving me that breather."

It wasn't a flawless performance from Marceaux, who allowed single runs to come across in the third, sixth and seventh innings, including home runs in the final two innings on the mound before being replaced by freshman Javen Coleman in the seventh. 

Coleman and fellow freshman Garret Edwards were able to get out of the inning without allowing further damage in a 4-3 game, stranding a runner at third. 

In a one run game, LSU's patience on offense continued as three straight batters were walked in the eighth inning with one out. Milazzo came in clutch with a sac fly that scored a run and then Morgan collected his fourth hit of the night, a triple that scored two more runs to give the bullpen comfortable separation to close the game out.

"We knew those two runs weren't gonna be enough so I just tried to go up and get a clutch RBI," Morgan said. "It worked out. This is the type of game you come here to playe for. Having to win every inning, having to play your best every inning are the types of games we love."