Auburn Falls Hard 15-6 To LSU

LSU pounded Auburn pitching for 18 hits on the way to a win on Friday night to clinch the SEC West.

Auburn, Ala.--Brian Fletcher hit two home runs and had five RBI in the first two innings to give Auburn a 5-2 lead, but LSU outscored the homestanding Tigers 13-1 the rest of the way on the way to a 15-6 victory to wrap up the SEC Western Division title.

The loss drops Auburn to 28-27 overall and 11-18 in SEC play while LSU won its 15th consecutive game to improve to 38-16-1, 17-11-1 in league action.

After playing with fire and determination all season long, with nothing to play for Auburn looked like a team that lacked concentration on Friday night as the Tigers gave up 18 hits, committed five errors and had two runners picked off base in the loss. Coach Tommy Slater said there is only one way to describe the loss.

"Not a very good effort," Slater said. "We didn't pitch well. Obviously it was very uncharacteristic defense for us. We made five errors and all of them were routine. A missed ground ball, two dropped pop ups and two other missed ground balls in the infield. It was a poor night for us across the board.

"Sometimes things snowball and it certainly did tonight," he added. "We came out and score five in the first two innings. We're locked in and doing a nice job at the plate. Then we give it right back up. We've got to do a better job. Dropping pop ups and missing routine ground balls hasn't been us all year, but it certainly was tonight."

Thompson was roughed up by LSU Friday night.

It was a rough night for Auburn sophomore Taylor Thompson on the mound. After a complete game win last week at Ole Miss, Thompson wasn't on against LSU as he allowed nine hits and six earned runs in just three and a third innings. Evan Crawford came on in relief, giving up three earned runs on six hits in three and two thirds. Sean Ray finished off the game and allowed four unearned runs on three hits in two innings.

LSU wasted little time in getting rid of the shutout bid for Thompson as back to back doubles by Jared Mitchell and Micah Gibbs in the first inning put the visiting Tigers up 1-0. Auburn answered back in the bottom of the first with Fletcher providing the firepower. Leading off, Trent Mummey worked a walk to bring Fletcher to the plate. Getting a pitch to drive, Fletcher lofted it over the 385' mark in left field for a two-run shot. It was his 10th of the season and seventh in the last 15 games, but he was just getting started.

After a Matt Clark solo homer in the top of the second, his 19th of the season, to tie the game, Fletcher again came through for Auburn in the bottom of the inning. With one out Kevin Patterson singled through the right side, but was picked off for out number two. It didn't stop Auburn from doing damage though as a single by Ryan Jenkins and another walk to Mummey brought Fletcher back to the plate. For the second time he hit a rainbow that just got out of the park, this time in center field. The blast gave Auburn a 5-2 advantage, but it didn't last long.

In the LSU fourth Clark walked to get a big inning started as Leon Landry's one-out single was the first of five consecutive singles for LSU. Combined with an Auburn error it led to four runs to put the visitors back in front 6-5. In the fifth Ryan Schimpf singled home two more runs to make it 8-5 and the rout was on. In the seventh Landry led off with a home run to right field. A Joseph Sanders error at second allowed Schimpf to reach, but he was caught stealing later for out number two following a strikeout. It didn't matter though as Mitchell reached on an error by Fletcher in left when he dropped a fly ball. Back to back walks followed by a Derek Helenihi single made it 11-5 LSU. Four more runs crossed the plate in the eighth inning helped by a Mummey drop of a fly ball in center field. Auburn scored a single run in the ninth inning after a Patterson triple to make the final 15-6.

Reliever Ryan Byrd got the win for LSU on the mound, pitching six innings and giving up just two hits and no runs. At the plate Clark, Landry and Schimpf all had three hits while four different LSU players had two RBI. For Auburn Fletcher had two hits and five RBI while Patterson also added two hits.

Auburn will look to salvage a win as the two teams play the final game of the series Saturday at 2 p.m. at Plainsman Park. Junior Luke Greinke gets the start for Auburn.

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