LSU shuts down Auburn baseball in series opener

LSU shuts down Auburn baseball in series opener

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From the Auburn University Athletics Department:

AUBURN, Ala. – Eighth-ranked LSU scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back en route to a 10-0 win over Auburn Thursday night at Plainsman Park.

"They lit (us) up pretty good, you've got to give them credit for that," Auburn head coach Sunny Golloway said. "The first five guys in their lineup are very, very talented with the bat, and their shortstop is the best shortstop in America."

Despite the loss, Auburn (28-26, 10-18 SEC) still remains alive for a berth in next week's SEC Tournament and did not lose any ground as both Tennessee and Georgia – the teams Auburn could pass in the standings – lost tonight. Meanwhile, LSU (38-14-1, 15-11-1 SEC) earned its second straight shutout and has now scored 37 runs in their past two games.

However, Auburn now finds itself in a position where a loss in either of its last two games and a win by Tennessee and Georgia would eliminate the Tigers from contention for the SEC Tournament.

"To me, there's no more pressure than what we've had throughout conference play," Golloway said. "We started off great. I think our guys kind of took that for granted. We've had pressure all along and not responded. Our back has been to the wall for a while, and I don't see it being any different tomorrow. We've just got to go out and play baseball one inning at a time and not worry about that stuff."

Senior Dillon Ortman (9-4), working on four days' rest, could never get on track in what turned out to be his shortest start of the year as he pitched into the third inning, giving up six runs on seven hits. With LSU staked to a big lead, junior Robby Clements saved the Auburn bullpen by pitching six-plus innings of relief into the ninth inning, surrendering four runs on seven hits.

"We haven't done it," Golloway said of bringing Ortman back on short rest, "but you've got to do it because that's where we are. We had to try to create some momentum, and we didn't. That was our best option."

Auburn managed just four hits off LSU pitching, which got to the fifth inning of tonight's game having not surrendered a hit in its last 12 innings. Damek Tomscha broke up the no-hitter in the fifth, and Damon Haecker, Jordan Ebert and Blake Austin each had a hit as well. Austin doubled in the eighth but was left stranded at third base.

LSU starter Jared Poche' (8-3) was nearly unhittable, giving up just three hits through eight innings while striking out five.

LSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, scoring their first two runs on an Andrew Stevenson double and getting a third on a Tyler Moore single. The Tigers would add three more in the third, recording three straight singles to open the inning and chase Ortman from the game, then scoring on a 2-RBI double by Moore and an RBI groundout by Danny Zardon.

Two more runs came across in the sixth as a throwing error allowed Mark Laird to score from third, and an RBI single by Jake Fraley two pitches later brought home Alex Bregman to make it 8-0. The final two LSU runs came in the ninth as Stevenson lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Jared Foster, and an RBI single by Kade Scivicque scored Chris Sciambra to make it 10-0.

Laird and Fraley each had three hits. Stevenson and Moore drove in three runs apiece to lead LSU's offense.

The same two teams will meet again at 6 p.m. Friday at Plainsman Park. Auburn will send senior left-hander Michael O'Neal (3-5, 2.82) to the mound while LSU will counter with ace righty Aaron Nola (8-1, 1.43).

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