LSU clinches series with 2-1 victory

Neither team put on an offensive display Saturday, but LSU mustered just enough to pull out a 2-1 victory against Mississippi State. The win clinches the series for the Tigers and marks their eighth consecutive victory against the Bulldogs.

Runs came at a premium Saturday, but No. 10 LSU mustered just enough offense to pull out a 2-1 victory against No. 13 Mississippi State (20-12, 6-5 SEC) at Alex Box Stadium.

The two teams combined for only nine hits, but the Tigers (23-8-1, 5-5-1) put together a two-run sixth inning to pull out the win. With the victory, LSU clinched the series and earned their eighth consecutive win against the Bulldogs.

"That was a big one for us, I can't lie to you," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "It's one we wanted really, really bad. I'm just so proud of the whole team."

The Tigers hadn't gotten much off MSU starter Ross Mitchell until that go-ahead sixth inning. The Tigers threatened in the first with runners on the corners and one out, but Sean McMullen was thrown out at home on Kade Scivicque's grounder to third. Chris Chinea also grounded out to end the inning.

Mitchell retired 13 of the next 14 batters with 10 of those outs coming on grounders.

"He's really an outstanding pitcher," Mainieri said. "He throws a lot of strikes low in the zone with movement, and their infield never makes an error. So it's really tough to score any runs off a pitcher like that."

But the Tigers finally broke through in the sixth. Mark Laird got it started with a one-out single, and Alex Bregman reached on an error by Mitchell to put two on for Scivicque.

After failing to come through in his first at-bat, Scivicque drilled a double through the left side for the game-tying run. Chinea sent a deep fly ball to left field in his next at-bat that was good for a sacrifice fly and a 2-1 lead.

"I got another chance," Scivicque said. "I just tried to hit the ball hard and get it through the infield…I knew he was going to come at me. I just embraced it and got ready to hit."

Meanwhile, Jared Poché fell behind early but limited the damage to keep LSU close. MSU threatened in the second, putting a pair of runners in scoring position with one out. But Poché dialed in and struck out the next batter then got a grounder to end the inning.

The Bulldogs did get a go-ahead run in the fourth though. Poché walked MSU 2B Brett Pirtle with one out, and he moved to second on a wild pitch. After a catcher's interference call with two outs, RF Demarcus Henderson sent a RBI-single to right-center field to give MSU the lead.

Poché would only surrender one more hit after that before giving way to the LSU bullpen after six innings with a one-run lead.

"I had a lot of adrenaline pumping," Poché said. "I knew I had to go out there and get as many zeroes on the board as I possibly could."

Alden Cartwright and Zac Person combined to work a scoreless seventh inning, and Person came out after issuing a walk to start the eighth.

That brought in Joe Broussard, who earned the save in Friday's 3-0 victory. He worked around a two-out single to close out that eighth inning. Then he retired the side in order in the ninth with a pair of strikeouts to earn his seventh save of the season.

"I'm willing to do whatever it takes," Broussard said. "I'll go three innings if it takes that much."

LSU will go for the sweep Sunday if weather permits. Forecasts predict heavy rain throughout the day, but the two teams will attempt to give it a go. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. and the LSU starter is still to be determined.


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