LSU (39-16-1, 18-11-1 SEC), the SEC Western Division champion, plays at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the first game of the conference tournament in Hoover, Ala. The Tigers will play No. 7-seeded South Carolina.
The 16-game win streak is the third-longest in LSU history, trailing only a 19-game streak in 1997 and an 18-game streak in 1986. LSU has won 12 consecutive SEC games, the longest single-season conference streak in school annals.
Trailing 7-5 Saturday, LSU sent nine men to the plate in the seventh inning, scoring five runs on four hits. Third baseman
The Tigers loaded the bases before first baseman Matt Clark hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field, scoring shortstop Michael Hollander from third base and Mitchell all the way from second base.
Micah Gibbs hit a pinch-hit double and rightfielder Johnny Dishon ripped an RBI triple to complete the rally and give LSU a 10-7 advantage.
The Tigers added a run in the ninth on second baseman Ryan Schimpf’s RBI single.
“Our team simply refuses to lose,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We rested five of our starters today, and I thought our role players came in and did an outstanding job. This group of guys truly epitomizes what it means to be a team. They pick each other up, and they play with confidence no matter the score or the situation. I’m proud to call this team division champions – they’ve worked so hard to earn it – and I’m hoping we can add some more championships as we move into the postseason.”
Freshman right-hander Austin Ross (3-1), the second of three LSU pitchers, earned Saturday’s win as he worked three innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits with no walks and one strikeout.
Right-hander Louis Coleman picked up his second save of the season with a brilliant outing, blanking Auburn over the final three innings. Coleman allowed just one hit and recorded no walks and six strikeouts.
LSU freshman right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, making his first career collegiate start, allowed three runs – none earned – on one hit in three innings with three walks and five strikeouts.
LSU grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first when second baseman Chris McGhee walked to lead off the inning and later scored on designated hitter Blake Dean’s RBI single.
The Tigers extended the lead to 3-0 in the second when Auburn second baseman Joseph Sanders bobbled shortstop Michael Hollander’s fielder’s choice grounder with the bases loaded, allowing two unearned runs to score.
LSU added a run in the third when Dean doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch and later scored when catcher Sean Ochinko
grounded into a double play.
Auburn narrowed the gap to 4-3 in the third when rightfielder Mike Bianucci launched a three-run blast off of Ranaudo.
Hollander’s RBI single in the fourth gave LSU a 5-3 advantage, and Auburn cut the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the frame on catcher Ryan Jenkins’ RBI grounder.
Auburn took its first lead in the sixth when centerfielder Trent Mummey unloaded a three-run homer – his fourth of the season – off of Ross, giving the Plainsmen a 7-5 advantage.
Right-hander Michael Hurst (3-5), the second of four Auburn pitchers, was charged with the loss as he surrendered four runs on two hits in 2.1 innings with one walk and two strikeouts.