Baton Rouge, La.--Starting pitcher Casey Mize’s outing was his worst of the season and he was outdueled by Eric Walker as the Auburn baseball Tigers fell to their SEC West rival LSU 9-1 on Saturday at Alex Box Stadium.
It was a seventh straight loss for the Tigers, who dropped to 32-21 and 14-13 in SEC play. LSU’s series sweep improved its record to 35-17 overall and 18-9 in the league.
Mize, whose record fell to 6-2, pitched four innings and allowed five runs off of six hits and struck out two. Davis Daniel pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up two runs.
Cole Lipscomb lasted 1 2/3 innings and gave up a run and Caleb Coker pitched the final inning for Auburn and allowed one opposing runner to reach home plate.
Auburn coach Butch Thompson said, “I think you can see that Keegan (Thompson) and Casey are not at 100 percent, and when they’re not 100 percent that’s tough for us.”
Auburn also struggled at the plate. The Tigers were held hitless against freshman pitcher Eric Walker until the eighth inning.
Daniel Robert was able to reach first due to a walk in the first inning. The Tigers did not reach base again until Conor Davis drew four balls to take a base in the seventh.
Auburn scored in the eighth inning on its sole hit of the game. Sam Gillikin, who started in left field, smashed his first round-tripper of the season to cut the LSU lead to 8-1. When asked about Walker’s performance, Thompson said, “He took the sting out of our swing and it was very routine today.
“I just thought he threw strike one time and time again and he was in the bottom of the strike zone,” Thompson said. “Didn’t put many balls up. When we got a pitch to hit we just missed it. We had a lot of ground outs and fly outs.”
In the second inning Mize gave up three runs off of four hits to begin the scoring for the Bayou Bengals. Nick Coomes led off the inning with a double. Josh Smith advanced Coomes to third at the next at-bat to put runners at the corners.
Beau Jordan singled with a line drive to score Coomes for the first run of the afternoon. After a Michael Papierski bunt and a Kramer Robertson sac fly, LSU led 3-0 at the end of the second frame.
LSU extended its lead in the fourth inning. Smith got another base knock, this time a double. A Jordan groundout advanced Smith to third and a Papierski shot went yard and resulted in the first home run of the afternoon to widen the home team’s lead to five.
In the sixth Smith drew a walk off Daniel and advanced to third courtesy of two wild pitches. He scored by way of a Jordan fly out. Papiersky was walked and that was enough to end Daniel’s outing as Cole Lipscomb entered for Auburn.
He quickly gave up a single to Zach Watson, allowed runners to advance by throwing a wild pitch, and a single to Cole Freeman that would score more two more runs to put LSU up 8-0.
“We have to have better at bats," Thompson said. "The offense has slowed down some since the two weekends at Arkansas and Mississippi State. All around we’ve got to be a little better. This team will have to step up with some urgency at home next week with Ole Miss.”
Auburn has not won a game since April 29th when the Tigers swept a doubleheader against Mississippi State in Starkville. Since winning that series and staking a spot as the top team in the SEC the Tigers have been swept by Alabama and LSU and dropped a midweek outing against UAB.
Auburn resumes action Thursday as the Tigers play host to Ole Miss for a three-game series for the season finale at Plainsman Park.
“We’ll design a good practice,” Thompson said. “We will get back at it on Monday, Tuesday--we’ll go every day of the week. They practice hard for us. You’ve got to play well and in the stretch we could’ve played better.”