Hard-Throwing Thompson Silences LSU's Bats

Auburn used a strong pitching performance from Keegan Thompson and timely hitting to defeat LSU 6-1 in an SEC baseball game.

Baton Rouge, La.--Auburn evened its SEC baseball series with a strong pitching performance by Keegan Thompson and clutch hitting by fellow sophomore Anfernee Grier leading the Tigers to a 6-1 victory over No. 3 ranked LSU on Saturday night.

Thompson went the distance as he scattered six hits while improving his record to 7-2. He had a shutout going until Andrew Stevenson led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a home run to right field.

Auburn improved its record 21-14 overall and 5-9 in the SEC. LSU is 30-6 overall and 9-5 in the league.

“Whenever Keegan is on the mound everybody is comfortable because we know we have a good shot to win,” said Grier, who had three hits and three runs batted in on a night he produced a single, double and a triple.

“We came out tonight and just played our game,” the center fielder said. “It was a big win for us, a must-win for us. We are going to come back out tomorrow and give it our best.”

Rocky McCord is expected to pitch on Sunday for the rubber game of the series, which is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CDT start. LSU has not announced its starter.

Thompson said he was excited to be pitching at Alex Box Stadium in front of a crowd announced at more than 10,000, noting he was pumped up for the challenge of playing the SEC’s top hitting team. Thompson noted he was throwing his fastball 94 miles per hour early in the contest and still topping 90 in the final innings.

“I had around four to five maybe nine to 11-or-12-pitch innings,” he said, noting that was a key to the complete game decision. “I tried to throw strikes and count on the guys behind me for the victory.”

Auburn finished with 10 hits on Saturday night and was not charged with a fielding error. Coach Sunny Golloway said he liked what he saw.

“Keegan is special,” Golloway said. “I say it all the time--I hope people don’t take him for granted. He is a special competitor.

“I have to give it to our position players,”?he added. “They came out and they gave him the run support. They played great defense and they had fun playing tonight.”

Thompson got out of an early jam in the first inning with LSU not scoring despite getting a bloop double to start the game and putting runners on second and third base with one out.

Auburn took the lead in the third inning when Melvin Gray, who had two hits, singled and scored on a double by Grier.

A two-out walk to Gray in the fifth inning followed by Grier’s triple made the score 2-0.

Singles by Daniel Robert and Sam Gillikin to start the sixth inning led to three more runs scored. A two-out triple by Cody Nulph made the score 4-0 and then Nulph scored on a single by Jackson Burgeen.

After the Bayou Bengals homered in the eighth inning, Auburn added an insurance run in the ninth when Grier’s two-out single scored Burgeen, who had walked.

Austin Bain was the losing pitcher as he gave up five runs on six hits in his first career start. He was pulled with one out in the sixth inning.

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