Striking out five and walking three, the redshirt sophomore allowed just three hits after the second inning and was the story of the night for the visitors, said Coach Sunny Golloway.
“Cole did a great job,” Golloway said. “The first two runs in the first inning go as unearned runs with the error. He was terrific. Doggone it, some things just didn’t go our way tonight, but the kids fought their tails off.
“There were just a few things that made a big difference in this ball game, but if go back and look at our effort and you look at our courage and the way we’re coming along, we’re getting there. It’s not showing up like we would like it to right now in conference wins, but it’s going to.”
With the loss Auburn falls to 20-14 overall and 4-9 in SEC play while LSU improves to 30-5 overall, 9-4 in league action. Lipscomb was the hard-luck loser to drop his record to 4-1 while Jared Poche got the win for LSU to improve to 6-1 on the season. Reliever Hunter Newman earned the save, striking out five and not allowing a hit in the final three and one/third innings.
Auburn got things started early off Poche as Grier laced a double down the third base line to put the pressure on early for an offense that had been struggling entering the Friday night contest. With one out Logan came through with a double of his own to drive Grier across for the first Auburn run.
Playing very good defense in recent weeks, Auburn uncharacteristically helped LSU out in the bottom of the first when third baseman Kyler Deese dropped a pop-up off the bat of Jake Fraley to put LSU in business.
A Mark Laird double followed to put runners on first and second for Alex Bregman and the shortstop did his job with a ground ball to the right side to put LSU on the board. With two outs Cade Scivicque extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a double off the left field wall to tie the game at two.
After leaving two runners on base in the second, Auburn once again helped out LSU as Lipscomb struck out Chris Sciambra with one out, but the ball got away from Logan to allow the runner to reach first. It was a big play as a two-out single by Jake Fraley put runners on first and second for Laird. Continuing his hot hand, Laird slashed a single to left field to score Sciambra and put LSU in front 3-2.
Auburn missed another golden opportunity to score in the fourth inning, but much of that was due to Bregman. Following a great play to rob Cody Nulph of a hit to open the frame, Bregman made just his second error of the year on a ground ball by Melvin Gray to bring Grier to the plate.
Already with one double, Grier drove the ball off the wall in right field with Andrew Stevenson playing the ball off the wall perfectly. Making a solid throw to Bregman on the outfield grass behind the second base bag, the relay throw to the plate gunned down Gray for the second out. A Haecker strikeout ended the threat with Auburn still down by a run.
In the sixth Auburn again threatened with a one-out single from Deese giving the Tigers a baserunner. After getting the second out of the inning Poche gave way to Newman out of the bullpen and he immediately walked Gray on four pitches to move a runner into scoring position with two outs for Grier. Already with a pair of hits, Grier pushed it to a full count before a nasty breaking ball caught him looking to end the inning with Auburn still trailing 3-2.
Cruising into the seventh inning, Lipscomb ran into some trouble as he allowed a one-out single to Laird before walking Bregman to bring the heart of the LSU order to the plate with a chance to extend the lead. Pitching carefully to Hale, Lipscomb walked him as well to load the bases for the red-hot Scivicque. Getting him to pop up to second on a 1-0 pitch for a huge second out, Lipscomb faced Chris Chinea with a chance to get out of the jam. Already with a hit to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, Chinea hit a lazy fly ball to Haecker in right field to keep it a one-run game.
On Saturday, Auburn will send sophomore Keegan Thompson (6-2, 3.15 ERA) to the mound against what was supposed to be freshman phenom Alex Lange (6-0, 1.39) for LSU, but he has been scratched with arm stiffness by LSU Coach Paul Manieri. Instead Auburn will face freshman Austin Bain (0-0, 2.45) in his first career start. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT.
Powerball: Softball Tigers Look to Outhit Aggies
Dye-Gest Column: A Good Defense Travels Well
ITAT Radio, Tuesday Podcast
Second Chance A Big Deal to Matthews
Malzahn Discusses First Spring Scrimmage
Baseball Tigers Take A Walk-Off Victory