LSU scored three runs in the first inning and three runs in the ninth inning, and either of those innings would have been enough to defeat Alabama at Sewell-Thomas Stadium Thursday night. The Crimson Tide fell for the 17th time in 19 Southeastern Conference games this year with the 15th-ranked Tigers taking an 8-2 decision.
The teams continue play at 6 p.m. CDT Friday. The second game of the three-game series will feature a pair of seniors, with the Crimson Tide looking to right-hander Nick Eicholtz and the Tigers calling on southpaw Jared Poché. The game will air nationally on SEC Network.
LSU starter Alex Lange (5-4) earned his fifth win of the season thanks to 7 1/3 innings of two-run baseball. The Tigers right-hander allowed eight hits and issued one walk while striking out 10.
Tide starter Dylan Duarte (2-5) suffered the loss, exiting early after working three innings. The threesome of Sam Finnerty, Zac Rogers and Mike Oczypok combined for the final six frames. Finnerty highlighted the relief effort, with the sophomore working a career-long 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and two walks while striking out one.
Alabama is now 15-27 overall. LSU improved to 28-15 overall and 11-8 in the SEC.
“I think (Alex Lange) is a really good arm and a true Friday night guy,” said Alabama Coach Greg Goff. “I felt like we had some really good at-bats tonight. When you've got a good arm on the mound like (Lange), you've got to be able to get situational hits; those are the little things that we have to do. You're not going to get four or five hits off of that guy in the same inning, so you've got to be able to situational hit, and we just didn't come through tonight."
It didn’t take long for Alabama to find itself in a hole from which it could not recover. In the first inning, LSU got four singles and three runs.
The offensive highlight for Bama was pulling to within a run on a Alex Webb’s two-run homer in the second.
LSU got those runs back one at a time over the third and fourth innings and put the game away with a three-run ninth inning in which Alabama pitcher Zac Rogers issued four consecutive walks to start the frame.
The Crimson Tide offense got two-hit efforts from Webb, Cody Henry and Kyle Kaufman. Webb finished 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, both the Tide's RBI and one run scored.