Posted: 11:56 p.m. Saturday, March 23, 2013
No. 3 LSU jumped out on starter Michael O'Neal (4-2) for five runs in four innings and won, 5-1, at Alex Box Stadium Saturday night, despite leaving 12 runners on, mostly thanks to Auburn's ineptitude at the plate with runners on base.
The typically reliable catcher Blake Austin, receiving O'Neal for the first time this season, left five on base, including grounding into a double play with the bases loaded to end the eighth. Hunter Kelley was a bright spot, leading off and grabbing two hits, as was Cullen Wacker, who went 2-for-3 with a walk, extending his hit streak to nine games, a career high.
LSU (21-2, 4-1) starter Ryan Eades improved to 5-0 after allowing only one run to score on seven hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings. Auburn's bullpen was impressive for the second night in a row, with Justin Camp and Rocky McCord going the final four frames and holding the Bayou Bengals' bats to four hits and no runs. The staff continued to struggle to strike batters out, though, recording only a fourth-inning K of Andrew Stevenson.
Mason Katz pounced again, with a two-run double in the first to open the scoring. Raph Rhymes picked up another RBI in the third, and the lead grew to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth, before Ryan Tella doubled and was knocked in by Damek Tomscha in the top of the fifth for Auburn's lone run.
Auburn was awful with men on base. The Tigers left the bases loaded in the fifth, runners on second and third in the sixth, stranded a leadoff double in the seventh and left 'em loaded again in the eighth with the Austin double play. For the game, Auburn was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Cody Glenn will try to lead LSU to a sweep Sunday at 1 p.m., while Will Kendall is expected to get the start for Auburn.