Jared Poche and Joe Broussard combined on a three-hitter as LSU defeated Georgia 2-1 in a Southeastern Conference game Saturday night at The Box.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU first inning - Sean McMullen tripled. After Mark Laird grounded out to the third baseman, Alex Bregman walked. McMullen scored when Kade Scivicque forced out Bregman with a ground ball to the shortstop. LSU 1, GEORGIA 0
LSU fifth inning - With one out, Kramer Robertson reached second on an error by third baseman Hunter Cole. After McMullen popped out to Cole, Robertson scored on a single by Laird. LSU 2, GEORGIA 0
Georgia sixth inning - With one out, Conor Welton walked and Heath Holder reached on an infield single. After Stephen Wrenn struck out, Welton scored on a single by Nelson Ward. LSU 2, GEORGIA 1
LSU WASTED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
Third inning - With one out, Laird singled. Laird stole second and advanced to third when second baseman Jess Posey failed to catch the throw from catcher Brandon Stephens. Bregman popped out to the shortstop and Scivicque grounded out to the third baseman.
Eighth inning - With two out, Laird and Bregman singled. Scivicque flied out to the centerfielder.
TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Laird picked up half of LSU's six hits with three singles. His second single drove home what proved to be the winning run in the fifth inning. Laird also stole a base. The RBI was just the fourth of the year for Laird. The multiple-hit game was his first since March 9 against Purdue. Laird had gone 2-for-20 since that game against the Boilermakers. This was the third time this season that Laird had three hits in a game.
Poche threw the most innings in his life as he was lifted with two out and a runner on first base in the ninth inning. Poche, who picked up his fifth victory of the year, allowed three hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Poche didn't give up a single until Bregman couldn't come up with Holder's chopping grounder with one out in the sixth. That inning was the only one in which Poche got into trouble. Holder's infield hit followed a one-out walk to Welton. After striking out Wrenn, Poche yielded a run-scoring single to leftfield by Ward. The inning ended as Ward was thrown out at second base by third baseman Christian Ibarra who cut off McMullen's throw to the plate. Poche retired the first nine batters before walking Wrenn to start the fourth. He set down seven straight batters before giving up a one-out single by Wrenn in the ninth. Ward hit a double-play grounder to Bregman, but Robertson had trouble getting a good grip on the ball for the throw to first base. Poche threw 102 pitches.
Broussard was called upon to get the final out against the righthanded-hitting Cole with the tying run on first base. Broussard struck out Cole, who had a 12-game hitting streak snapped. The save was the fifth of the year for Broussard, who has not given up a run in 12 appearances.
Tyler Moore started at catcher for the first time since Feb. 25 against UL-Lafayette. Coach Paul Mainieri wanted Moore to catch Poche because he is a better receiver than Scivicque. Moore doesn't throw as well as Scivicque, but Mainieri didn't think Georgia would run much against the southpaw Poche. . .Conner Hale was the first baseman with Robertson the second baseman. . .McMullen's first-inning triple was his second of the season. He had one triple all of last year. That hit extended McMullen's hitting streak to five games. . .Georgia freshman pitcher Robert Tyler yielded two runs and five hits in 7.2 innings. He was still throwing 96 miles per hour in the eighth inning. . .LSU stranded five runners, two in scoring position. The Tigers were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. . .Georgia has scored a total of three runs in its last four SEC games - all losses. . .LSU is 20-4 overall, 3-2 in the SEC. The Tigers are one game out of first place. . .Georgia is 14-10 overall, 1-4 in the SEC. The Bulldogs are tied with Missouri for last place in the SEC standings. . .The paid attendance was 11,334. The actual crowd was 7,417.
FROM THE CLUBHOUSE
"What a great pitchers' duel. You have to give plaudits to that pitcher from Georgia. His first pitch was 97 and his last pitch in the eighth was 96. It was a great challenge to go against that kid and Poche was up to the challenge. Poche threw his fast ball with a little something extra on it and he was breaking off his curve ball. Poche is not overpowering. He throws about 87, but he's going to be a great competitor. You talk about someone having the 'it' factor. Some guys have it. Jared Poche has it. He oozes being a winner. He doesn't pout and doesn't hang his head when things go wrong. We threw him right in there as the No. 2 starter. He showed he's a SEC pitcher tonight."
"I struggled last week, so I wanted to get back to myself tonight. My command of the fast ball was huge tonight. In the bullpen, I thought this was going to be my worst outing. After the first inning, I felt better. This was my best outing in college. It's a one-run game, so you know it's going to be pretty tough. Coach (Mainieri) had trust in me. That's why he left me in. He said that I was getting better and better as the game went on. I wanted to stay in to finish. I pitched 8 2/3 innings. What is one more out? But, that's coach's decision."
"Their pitcher did a good job challenging us with his fast ball. We put some balls in play hard, but we didn't get many hits. (On his at-bat in which he drove in a run), the first pitch was low and on the outside corner. I was sitting on the same pitch. I stayed back and hit the ball hard the other way. It's good to win the first two games to win the series. Championship teams come back to win on Sunday."
LSU will play attempt to sweep Georgia in the third game of the series at The Box on Sunday at noon. Mainieri has not decided upon the starting pitcher. He indicated that he may divide the pitching up like he does in a midweek contest. Due to the Bulldogs' travel plans, no inning can start after 3:45 p.m.