Baseball: LSU 7, Vanderbilt 5

HOOVER, Ala. –– A day after pounding top-seeded Florida for 19 hits, LSU out-hit Vanderbilt 15-6 and got a season-high eight-plus innings from Austin Ross before holding off a late VU ninth inning rally to earn a 7-5 win over the Commodores at the second day of the SEC Tournament Thursday.

With the loss, the Commodores (41-16) will play Florida in an elimination game on Friday. The time is TBA as the first game of the day (No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 6 Ole Miss) will start at 3 p.m.

LSU's Ross kept the Vanderbilt bats in check most of the night as VU scored three runs in the third and two in the ninth but were held scoreless in the remaining seven frames.

Trailing 7-3 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the ‘Dores made things interesting when Aaron Westlake was at second base after a leadoff single to start the inning. After LSU recorded the next two outs, Joe Loftus singled up the middle to plate Westlake from second to make it a 7-4 game.

In the very next at-bat, Bryan Johns roped a double down the left-field line off Tiger closer Matty Ott, scoring Loftus from first to make it 7-5, before Mike Yastrzenski struck out to end the game.

LSU got on the board in the top of the first when they scored three runs on four hits while sending seven batters to the plate. The Tigers got RBI-singles in the inning from Blake Dean and Leon Landry while Austin Nola drove in the other run with a double to left-field.

The Commodores answered the Tigers call in the second inning when they scored three runs on three hits, led by Yastrzemski's two-run blast over the right field wall. Loftus started the offensive attack in the second when he hit a one-out double to left-center before scoring VU's first run of the game on a RBI-single through the left side by Connor Harrell. Following Harrell's single, Yastrzemski drove Ross' very next pitch into the first row of trees beyond the right field wall for his second homer of the year and tying the game at three.

LSU retook the lead in the third when Micah Gibbs connected on a two-out solo home run to right field, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead.

The Tigers had a chance to add to its lead in the fourth when they had runners on first and third with one out before Taylor Hill got Mason Katz to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.

LSU extended its lead in the fifth when Tyler Hanover scored on a passed ball, giving LSU a 5-3 lead. Hanover reached base by doubling to left-center and then advanced to third on an infield groundout by Dean.

The Tigers plated two more runs in the sixth when they tallied two hits and took advantage of a Vanderbilt fielding error to go up 7-3.

Taylor Hill (5-5) allowed five runs scattering nine hits in 4.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts in the loss.

Grayson Garvin came into relieve Hill in the fifth and pitched 2.1 innings of relief. Garvin allowed two runs, one earned on four hits with one strikeout in his 10th appearance of the year.

Will Clinard threw a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, finishing with two strikeouts and no walks.

Offensively, Loftus led Vanderbilt with a 2-for-3 effort with two runs scored while Harrell, Yastrzemski, and Johns drove in runs in the losing effort.

Vanderbilt will send sophomore Jack Armstrong (7-2, 3.92 ERA) to the mound tomorrow to face Florida while the Gators will counter with Hudson Randall (6-3, 2.99 ERA).

Florida advanced to Friday's elimination game when they edged Arkansas 5-4 earlier in the day on Thursday.
LSU          301 012 000-7(15)0
Vanderbilt   030 000 002-5(6)1
Hill, Garvin (5) Clinard (8) and Giobbi. Ross, Ott (9) and Gibbs. W- Ross 5-4, L- Hill 5-5. Sv- None HR: Yastrzemski (2), Gibbs (9)

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