LSU takes series opener 6-5 from Auburn

It was all or nothing Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.<br><br>With the wind screaming out to left field, LSU clubbed three home runs, two by Jon Zeringue, as the Tigers (34-16-1, 17-7-1 SEC) went on to a 6-5 win over the visiting Auburn Tigers in the opening game of a critical SEC series.

Auburn feasted off the long ball as well tagging a trio of round trippers. However, the combination of Justin Meier (6-2) and Billy Sadler was enough to subdue the Tigers the rest of the way.

"It was a nail biter," LSU left fielder Ryan Patterson said. "But a win is a win and we pulled it out."

Entering the top of the ninth inning Sadler toed the rubber with a 6-4 lead. Auburn managed to load the bases with two outs when Tiger slugger Bobby Huddleston stepped in the box. Huddleston posed a serious threat having already parked a pair of round trippers in the game. Sadler's first offering, a breaking pitch, plugged the hard-hitting Auburn catcher in the back. The hit batsmen allowed the Tigers to close within a run, 6-5, but LSU adverted a major disaster taking the bat out of Huddleston's hands.

Things worked out however as Karl Amonite looked at called third strike, ending the game.

"That was a poor display," an irritated LSU coach Smoke Laval said. "We let our emotions get caught up in it. I don't mind playing with emotions, but you can't let yourself get caught up in it."

With LSU's win, Auburn retains second place in the overall SEC standings, two and a half games behind the first place Tigers. LSU now holds a three and a half game lead over Mississippi State (33-14-1, 14-10 in SEC). The Bulldogs lost to Georgia 6-5 in Athens.

LSU will go for the series-clinching win tomorrow in an afternoon tilt with Auburn. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.

The visiting Tigers jumped out to a quick lead in the top of the first Huddleston deposited a towering two-run blast over the left field bleachers. But LSU did not tarry around answering the Aubies offensive surge with a four-spot in the home half of the first frame.

Ryan Patterson gave LSU its first baserunner with a bloop single. Aaron Hill followed suit giving the Tigers runners at first and second for Clay Harris. Harris drove in a pair of runs with a double to right centerfield knotting the score at 2-2. Two batters later, Jon Zeringue popped a wind-aided, two-run home run into the left field stands giving the Tigers a 4-2 advantage.

"I was working the count deep," Zeringue said. "He was throwing good pitches. I was awfully lucky to be fouling them off. Then I got a good shot on one."

Things were quiet until the top of the fourth inning when the visiting Tigers tied the game on a pair of solo home runs. Huddleston and Josh Bell each nailed round tripper in the inning evening the score.

Much like the first inning, LSU responded immediately. Zeringue got a bit more bat on the ball on his second dinger of the evening drilling the ball over the left centerfield bleachers.

Patterson added an insurance run with a long ball in the seventh frame, upping LSU's lead to 6-4.

Meier got the win going seven complete innings, in which he allowed four runs (all earned), on seven hits with five strikeouts. Billy Sadler gave up and earned run in two innings of work allowing one hit with three strikeouts.

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