Bombs Away For LSU In Easy Victory

Auburn is hoping to avoid its first sweep of the season in Sunday's game against LSU.

Baton Rouge, La.--There wasn't a playground in sight Saturday, but the merry-go-round was in full service for the LSU Tigers as they earned the series victory over Auburn with a 20-3 pounding of the Tigers in front of more than 8,000 fans at Alex Box Stadium.

Blasting just about everything Auburn pitchers served up, LSU scored 17 runs in the first three innings, including an 11-run outburst in the third that put the game away early.

The loss drops Auburn to 34-16 overall, 15-11 in conference play, while LSU improves to 35-16-1, 18-7-1 in SEC games. The Bengal Tigers inched closer to the Western Division title with the win in a game in which they bombarded Auburn pitching from the opening inning.

Colby Paxton struggled on Saturday.

"They are the best team we've seen," Auburn Coach Steve Renfroe said. "We said that last night, but they put an exclamation point on that today. They are just very good. Everywhere you look there is a baseball player who is athletic. They know what they are doing at the plate.

"Your starter, after giving up three, has to be able to battle back and get three or four more innings and keep the damage limited to have a chance. We didn't do that and it just got rolling the wrong way. They embarrassed us. You can't go to your other guys at that point. You have to save them for tomorrow."

Auburn actually got on the board first in Saturday's game. Sean Gamble led off the game with a single to left field and Javon Moran walked to give the Tigers some early life. After advancing a base on a sacrifice bunt from Tug Hulett, Gamble scored on a comebacker to Pettit off the bat of Bobby Huddleston. The inning came to a close on a strikeout by Karl Amonite. Still, with Paxton on the mound Auburn had to be feeling good with the early lead.

It appeared Paxton had his groove early with a ground ball out from Bruce Sprowl to open the game and then he coaxed J.C. Holt into a ground ball to Chuck Jeroloman at shortstop. Fielding the ball cleanly, his throw pulled Amonite off the bag for an error. Stealing second base, Holt scored just moments later on a single by Aaron Hill to left field.

The inning looked to be back under control when Hill was caught stealing on a perfect throw by Huddleston, but LSU had other ideas and got some help from Auburn along the way. Blake Gill lifted a shallow pop-up into center field next and both Jeroloman and Hulett watched as the ball fell in between both for a single.

That started a two-out rally for LSU as Clay Harris worked a walk from Paxton to bring Ivan Naccarata to the plate. Finding room in right-center field, he dropped a single in that scored Gill from second to make it 2-1 LSU. Friday night's hero Ryan Patterson closed out the scoring with a double to left that scored Naccarata and made it 3-1 heading to the second.

Sean Gamble singles in Saturday's game.

A three-up, three-down inning didn't help for Auburn as LSU came back and put Paxton out of the game early. With one out and a runner on first, Holt lifted a fly ball into the strong wind that sailed into the left field stands for a two-run home run and a four-run lead for the Bengal Tigers. A Hill double and Gill single added the third and final run of the inning and just that quickly, LSU had a commanding 6-1 lead.

The game would go from interesting to over in the bottom of the third as Auburn couldn't find an answer to the hot LSU hitters. Facing reliever Josh Sullivan, who came on to finish the second, Patterson was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and scored moments later on Matt Liuzza's double to right-center field.

Sprowl followed with a walk to bring Holt to the plate. Continuing his hot hitting, he ripped a single to center to score Liuzza. Hill, looking for his first long ball of the weekend, got it as he bombed a three-run shot to left-center making it 11-1 LSU.

Before the inning was done, LSU added two triples, a double and another Auburn error contributed to the cause. Heading to the fourth inning, the Bengal Tigers led 17-1 with Pettit in control on the mound.

Auburn scratched out two more runs in the game, one on a solo home run by Josh Bell, but LSU would score three more on a home run by Quinn Stewart in the fifth to make the final score 20-3.

One of six Auburn pitchers on the day, Paxton took the loss for the Tigers as he allowed eight hits and six runs (three earned) in just one and one/third innings. Pettit got the victory for LSU with six innings thrown, allowing three runs on seven hits.

At the plate Gamble, Moran and Scott Schade all had two hits as Auburn had 10 hits on the day, but just three runs. Hill had three hits and four RBI in the game for LSU while Gill added three hits as well. Six other LSU players had two hits and they pounded out 19 hits in the game.

Auburn looks to salvage a game Sunday afternoon with the combination of Levale Speigner, Cory Dueitt and Eric Brandon all ready to throw against LSU's Nate Bumstead. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT and the game can be seen on Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast.

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