Slow Start Costs Auburn In 6-2 Loss At LSU

Auburn dropped the series to LSU with a 6-2 loss on Sunday.

Baton Rouge, La.--LSU got all of the runs it would need in the first three innings and cruised to a 6-2 Sunday win over Auburn to earn the series victory over Coach Sunny Golloway’s club. With the loss Auburn falls to 21-15 overall and 5-10 in SEC play at the halfway point of the conference schedule while No. 3 LSU improves to 31-6 and 10-5 in league action.

Despite getting three hits each from Ben Craft and Kyler Deese, Auburn just couldn’t overcome a tough start as starting pitcher Rocky McCord failed to record an out in the third inning, allowing all six runs on six hits to fall to 2-3 on the year. The bright spot on the mound came from reliever Justin Camp. Coming in for an extended outing, Camp allowed just one hit in five and one/third innings before Izaac Yarbrough finished it off with a scoreless ninth inning.

“We let it get away from us too early, that’s the bottom line,” Golloway said. “We had a fresh bullpen and we let that game get away from us. We can’t do that. There were some bright spots, I thought Kyler Deese swung the bat well and Craft did a great job for us behind the plate and swung the ball really good for us today.”

In the first McCord ran into early trouble as LSU scored a pair of runs following doubles from Chris Sciambra and Mark Laird to start the game. Chris Chinea’s groundout scored Laird with one out to make it 2-0 for the home team after the first inning. In the second they added another run after a leadoff walk to Andrew Stevenson and a single by Conner Hale moved him to third. He eventually scored on a Jake Fraley groundout to put Auburn in a three-run hole.

“I told the club after the first inning that Roger Clemens on the mound couldn’t have done anything about those seeing-eye flares and the bad hops,” Golloway said. “It was 2-0 and we did our damage control and we’re going to be in this ballgame, we’re going to be fine. But I thought in the third inning we lost complete composure on the mound and we can’t do that. We let the game get away from us when we had a fresh bullpen.”

With LSU resting talented freshman pitcher Alex Lange this weekend it meant the first start of the season for lefty Zac Person. Allowing just a hit in the first two innings, Person pitched another scoreless inning in the third to give his offense a chance to extend the lead and that’s what happened.

Once again getting his team going with a leadoff single, Laird quickly stole second before an Alex Bregman walk brought Chris Chinea to the plate. McCord added to his problems by hitting Chinea to load the bases with nobody out for LSU. Facing the red hot Cade Scivicque, McCord gave up a first-pitch single to make it 4-0 and keep the pressure on. A wild pitch with Stevenson at the plate scored Bregman before Deese misplayed a ground ball to allow the sixth and final run of the day to score for LSU.

With two on and still nobody out it was Camp time as he came on in relief for Auburn and retired the next three LSU hitters to keep the score 6-0.

That’s how things would remain until Auburn finally got on the board in the sixth inning off reliever Parker Bugg thanks to some clutch two-out hitting. With nobody on Blake Logan started the rally with a single. Craft followed with a single of his own before Kyler Deese finished things off with the third two-out hit of the inning to cut the lead to five.

In the eighth inning Jordan Ebert’s pinch hit single with one out got Auburn’s offense cranked up again as he moved to second on a Logan groundout to move into scoring position for Craft. Continuing his big day he singled to left-center to score Ebert and make it a 6-2 game. Another Deese single put a pair of runners on base for Auburn to give them a chance to get back in the game, but Cody Nulph’s fly ball to right field ended the threat.

Coming on to pitch the eighth inning, Kevin Stallings finished off the LSU win with a scoreless ninth to preserve the series win for the homestanding Tigers.

Auburn returns to action Tuesday night when the Tigers take on Alabama State at Plainsman Park. They will turn around and face Alabama A&M on Wednesday before hosting Ole Miss next weekend.

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