(AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Chris Sciambra's RBI single capped a six-run fifth inning as LSU rallied for a 9-8 victory against Auburn in a first-round game of the Southeastern Conference tournament at Hoover (Ala.) Metropolitan Stadium on Wednesday night.
HOW THEY SCORED
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Auburn first inning - With one out, Melvin Gray walked and stole second base. Damon Haecker walked. Daniel Robert reached safely on first baseman Chris Chinea's throwing error to load the bases. Gray scored on Blake Logan's single. Haecker and Robert scored on Alex Poston's single. After Jordan Ebert flied out to centerfielder Andrew Stevenson, Logan and Polston scored on Cody Nulph's double. AUBURN 5, LSU 0
LSU second inning - With one out, Stevenson reached on an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error by the shortstop Nulph. Stevenson went to third on Chinea's ground out to the second baseman. Stevenson scored on Sciambra's double. Jared Foster hit a two-run homer over the leftfield fence. AUBURN 5, LSU 3
Auburn third inning - Robert singled and Logan doubled. After Polston flied out to rightfielder Mark Laird, Robert and Logan scored on Ebert's single. AUBURN 7, LSU 3
Auburn fourth inning - Anfernee Grier singled and went to third on pitcher Doug Norman's throwing error on a pickoff attempt at first base. Grier scored on Gray's sacrifice fly to leftfielder Jake Fraley. AUBURN 8, LSU 3
LSU fifth inning - Foster doubled and went to third on Rocky McCord's wild pitch. Laird walked. Foster scored and Laird moved to third on Fraley's single. Fraley went to second when the centerfielder Grier misplayed the hit. After Alex Bregman struck out, Laird and Fraley scored on Conner Hale's single. Hale scored on Kade Scivicque's double. Scivicque moved to third on Stevenson's ground out to the second baseman. Scivicque scored on Chinea's double. Chinea scored on Sciambra's single. LSU 9, AUBURN 8
LSU'S MISSED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
First inning - Laird walked. After Fraley fouled out to the leftfielder, Laird stole second base. Bregman flied out to the centerfielder and Hale grounded out to the shortstop.
Sixth inning - With two out, Bregman was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Hale grounded out to the shortstop.
LSU HITTER OF THE GAME
LSU scored all of its runs in two innings - three in the second and six in the fifth. Sciambra was the only person who had a run-scoring hit in both innings. In the second, Sciambra doubled home the first run and scored on Foster's home run. In the fifth, LSU had pushed across five runs to tie the score at 8-8. Sciambra followed with a single to rightfield to bring home Chinea with the winning run. Sciambra, who struck out in his other two at-bats, had only two hits in 13 at-bats coming into Wednesday's game.
Sciambra's comments: "It's easy when you're down to play the scoreboard and get passive. We just stayed aggressive and knew we had a lot of game left to play. We just continued to play like we always do. Our whole lineup is filled with veteran guys even if they're not seniors. We know what we can do and we never give up. We just keep playing our game."
LSU PITCHER OF THE GAME
The LSU bullpen was very effective after Jared Poche gave up five first-inning runs. Jake Godfrey allowed two third-inning runs and Norman yielded an unearned run in the fourth. Four LSU relievers held Auburn scoreless on one hit over the last five innings. Zac Person turned in the most impressive outing. He relieved Hunter Newman with runners on first and second and two out in the seventh and struck out pinch-hitter Kyler Deese. Person gave up a leadoff single to Ebert in the eighth. Person then set down the next three batters with Ebert not getting past first base.
The LSU lineup contained the normal nine players. Laird was the leadoff batter with Fraley hitting second. Stevenson was in the six-hole and Sciambra batted eighth. . .Foster was the only player besides Sciambra to have two hits. Foster hit a two-run homer in the second - his ninth of the season. He started the six-run fifth with a double. . .Fraley extended his hitting streak to six games with his RBI single in the fifth. . .Bregman stole his 30th base of the year in the sixth inning. Bregman is the fifth LSU player in school history to have 30 stolen bases in a season. The other four players are Rob Hartwig (42 in 1987 and 31 in 1986), Jared Mitchell (36 in 1989), Jeff Reboulet (34 in 1985) and Ron Lim (33 in 1989). Bregman has 58 career steals which ties him with Reboulet for sixth place all-time. . .LSU stranded four runners - three in scoring position. LSU was 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position. . .McCord was replaced after the first three LSU batters reached base in the fifth. McCord gave up six runs and six hits. Reliever Trey Wingenter allows LSU's other three runs in the fifth. . .Poche had the worst outing of his two-year career as he lasted just one inning. Auburn scored five runs in the first. Two walks by Poche and an error by Chinea loaded the bases. Poche gave up three run-scoring hits - singles by Logan and Polston and a double by Nulph. The hits by Polston and Nulph drove in two runs. . .Godfrey worked two innings in relief of Poche. He retired the side in order with one strikeout in the second. However, after LSU got close with three runs in its half of the second, Godfrey yielded two runs on three hits in the third. . .Norman, who picked up his fifth victory of the year, gave up one unearned run and one hit in two innings. . .Hunter Devall, who had not pitched against a SEC team since Arkansas on March 20, threw a perfect sixth after LSU had gone ahead 9-8. . .Newman pitched to four batters in the seventh - walking two and getting two outs. . .Parker Bugg worked a scoreless ninth to register his second save of the season. Auburn put the tying run at second base, but Bugg struck out pinch-hitter Sam Gillikin to end the game. . .Logan and Ebert each had two hits for Auburn, which stranded six runners - three in scoring position. Auburn was 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position. . .LSU had not won a game this season when it trailed by more than three runs. LSU had at least a five-run deficit twice and lost both games - 5-1 to Arkansas and 6-3 to Nicholls State. . .LSU defeated Southeastern Louisiana by the same 9-8 score earlier this season. The last time LSU won a SEC tournament game in which it allowed eight runs was 2008 - 12-8 over Alabama. . .LSU (47-9) has won eight consecutive games at the SEC tournament. . .Auburn (35-23), which hasn't won two games in a SEC tournament since 2003, plays in an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
FROM THE CLUBHOUSE
Coach Paul Mainieri's comments: "That was about the ugliest game of the year that we have played for the first four innings. Somehow we found a way to win the game. That to me is a credit to our kids. They really hang in there. We've become so used to falling behind in games that our guys don't flinch. They know we have a good offensive team and they're not going to give up when we fall behind like that."
LSU will play the winner of the late game between Arkansas and Florida in a quarterfinal game Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Central time. Austin Bain (2-2, 2.96 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers. LSU's Thursday game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
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