Strong relief gives LSU first SEC series win

Early runs, late runs and a few in between helped LSU beat Auburn on Sunday for its first Southeastern Conference series of the season. While relief pitchers Brian Wilson and Jake Tompkins stifled Auburn's bats, LSU posted a season high 15 hits in a 9-5 win over the Plainsmen in Sunday's deciding game at Plainsman Park.

LSU (20-13, 5-6 SEC) never trailed in the contest after scoring three runs in its first at-bat. Auburn (24-10, 6-6) tied the game at three in the second inning but could not find enough answers to the Bayou Bengals' onslaught that included six extra-base hits.


Wilson (W, 4-2) protected a 7-3 LSU lead over the middle innings, by retiring 12 straight batters, and Tompkins earned his second save of the year by holding off Auburn's last rally attempt.


Jason Vargas started his first SEC game at pitcher for LSU and lasted just 1 1/3 innings. Wilson took over with the score tied, 3-3, and stranded an Auburn base runner at second. After Bobby Huddleston led off the third win the single, Wilson sat the next dozen Auburn players to come to the plate.


Before allowing three straight hits to start the seventh inning, Wilson had struck out five Auburn hitters over 4.2 innings without allowing any walks.


Tompkins replaced Wilson after Tug Hulett led off the seventh with a double to left and Chuck Jeroloman and Javon Moran followed with singles. The Moran single scored Hulett, and Sean Gamble greeted Tompkins with another RBI single to make the score 7-5.


LSU got two runs back in the eighth, the first coming on J.C. Holt's first collegiate home run. Holt's solo shot came with one out, and Wally Pontiff scored after a hitting a two-out double on Sean Barker's single to left. Out of their nine runs, the Tigers brought six across with two outs.


Pontiff scored the first run of the game after drawing a two-out walk in the first. Barker followed with a single, and a passed ball charged to Trent Pratt allowed Pontiff to score from third.


Matt Heath's double brought Barker home, and Blake Gill singled to center to score Heath for a 3-0 LSU lead.


Huddleston drove in the first Auburn run in the bottom of the inning with a ground out to second, and Pratt provided a single to left that scored another run.


Auburn tied the game when Moran recorded the sixth Auburn hit of the afternoon, an RBI double, off of Vargas in the second inning.


After Wilson stopped Auburn in the second, LSU scored three more runs in the third. Matt Heath drove in one with a triple off the monster wall in Plainsman Park's left field, and David Raymer got the other two with a home run to right center. It was his third of the season.


After cutting the lead to two in the seventh, Auburn fell victim to LSU's solid defense and clutch pitching. A double play ended the home Tigers rally in the seventh and another in the eighth allowed Tompkins to face the minimum.


After starting the ninth with a Hulett single and a walk to Jeroloman, Tompkins got Moran to hit into a fielder's choice for the first out and struck out Gamble.


Jon Scheurholz, who was hitting .800 for the series coming into the game, hit into a force out at second to end the game and finish the day 0-for-5 at the plate.


Hill also went hitless in Sunday's game, halting his hitting streak at nine games. 

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