LSU Outpitches Auburn to Win Series Opener

LSU's steady play was enough to defeat Auburn to open a three-game SEC baseball series.

Baton Rouge, La.--LSU pitcher Anthony Renaudo overpowered Auburn with 15 strikeouts as the sixth-ranked Bayou Bengals defeated the visiting Tigers 7-3 on Friday night.

Renaudo pitched eight solid innings for sixth-ranked LSU, which improved to 12-7 in the SEC and 31-12 overall. He allowed six hits and three runs on a trio of solo homers. He walked just one batter.

Auburn fanned two more times in the ninth inning against LSU closer Matty Ott to finish the night with 17 strikeouts to go with eight hits.

Slumping Auburn, losers of seven of its last nine games, dropped to 8-11 in the conference and 25-17 overall.

Jon Luke Jacobs started for Auburn and took the loss. He pitched five innings and allowed four runs, three which were earned. Jacobs gave up just five hits, but walked six batters.

Auburn scored its first run on a homer by Casey McElroy in the top of the second inning after LSU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Auburn took the lead in the top of the fourth inning with a long home run to left center field by Brian Fletcher, his 13th of the year and the team's 88th of the season, which set a single-season school record.

However, the lead didn't last long. LSU regained the edge with the help of a pair of walks and three hits, including a foul ball called fair by umpire Jack Cox, to move ahead 3-2. It could have been worse, but Jacobs got a fly out to left field with the bases loaded to end the threat.

Auburn tied the game in the top of the sixth on a two-out homer to right center field by Hunter Morris.

Jacobs walked the leadoff batter in the bottom of the sixth and got the hook from Coach John Pawlowski as Bradley Hendrix was called in from the bullpen.

Hendrix surrendered a single to Ryan Schimpf to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Jared Mitchell then walked on four pitches to load the bases.

The Tigers turned a 6-4-3 double-play that allowed Buzzy Haydel to score from third to give LSU a 4-3 lead. LSU added to its lead as D. J. LeMahieu hit a line drive single to center to score Schimpf.

Hendrix pitched just an inning as he was replaced by Scott Shuman, who opened the seventh inning. LSU picked up a gift insurance run in the inning with a walk, sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Schimpf to make the score 6-3.

Auburn had a chance to narrow the LSU lead in the top of the eighth inning. A leadoff single by Justin Hargett was followed by a one-out double to left center field by Ben Jones. Hargett ran through a stop sign at third base, then tried to scramble back to third and was thrown out there. Ranaudo then struck out Morris to end the threat.

LSU added another run off of Shuman on three hits in the bottom of the eighth to stretch the lead to 7-3.

In the top of the ninth, Fletcher opened the inning with an infield single. McElroy hit a long ball deep to the right field corner for the first out before pinch-hitter Dan Gamache, hitting for Tony Caldwell, lined an opposite field double off the left field wall.

The second hit of the inning chased LSU reliever Nolan Cain in favor of closer Matty Ott. He then struck out Kevin Patterson and Wes Gilmer to end the threat and the game.

"If we want to get into the (SEC) tournament, we have to turn the corner," Pawlowski said. "We can control our own destiny. We have to come back tomorrow ready to play."

Pawlowski said his biggest concern was the 17 strikeouts by his team. He added that the nine walks by Auburn's pitchers were an issue, too. "You not going to win, especially in this league, if you walk nine guys. Teams are too good to do that."

Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday. Grant Dayton is scheduled to pitch for Auburn.

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