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Wild pitch walk-off as LSU survives and advances in SEC tournament

Posted at 8:46 PM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 21:46:50-04

HOOVER, Ala. (Press Release) – LSU scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday on a wild pitch and an error, giving the Tigers a 4-3 walk-off win over Auburn in the SEC Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

LSU improved to 36-23 overall and will play at 6:30 p.m. Friday against the loser of Thursday night’s game between Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. Auburn, which was eliminated from the tournament with Thursday’s loss, dropped to 33-25 on the year.

The game marked  LSU’s fifth walk-off win this year, setting a school record for walk-off victories in a single season.

Thursday afternoon’s win came after LSU had suffered a heartbreaking 17-inning loss to Mississippi State in a contest that ended at 3:03 a.m. CT Thursday morning.

“I told our players this morning at breakfast in a very heartfelt way that I was very proud of them last night despite the result of the game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainerin, “and if somehow they could find the energy and the enthusiasm to go out there today and find a way to win this game, that it would be one of the more special wins that I’ll ever remember at LSU because nobody would give us a chance.

“Who would give you a chance after getting into bed at 4:30 in the morning and having to get up four hours later for a pre-game meal? And somehow the kids found a way to go out there and do it, and I’m just really proud of them.”

LSU trailed 3-2 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, but designated hitter Giovanni DiGiacomo led off with a single against Auburn closer Cody Greenhill before catcher Saul Garza singled and moved to second on the throw to the infield, while DiGiacomo advanced to third.

Second baseman Brandt Broussard lined out sharply to left field for the first out of the inning, and LSU coach Paul Mainieri sent pinch hitter Chris Reid to the plate after Auburn lifted Greenhill for left-hander Brooks Fuller. Mainieri also inserted Drew Bianco as a pinch runner at second base.

Fuller fired a wild pitch that allowed DiGiacomo to score, and Auburn first baseman Rankin Woley committed a throwing error after picking up the baseball, allowing Bianco to score the winning run.

LSU reliever Todd Peterson (5-2), who entered the game in the eighth inning, was credited with the win, as he allowed one hit in 1.2 shutout innings with one walk and two strikeouts.

Greenhill (2-3) was charged with the loss, as he allowed three runs – two earned – on three hits in 2.2 inning with one walk and one strikeout.

LSU starting pitcher Landon Marceaux delivered an excellent performance, limiting Auburn to two unearned runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings with one walk and five strikeouts.

Auburn starter Jack Owen worked 5.2 innings, allowing one run on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts.

LSU got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when shortstop Josh Smith doubled and later scored from third on a groundout by centerfielder Zach Watson.

Auburn took a 2-1 lead in the seventh when Woley reached on an error and later scored on centerfielder Kason Howell’s infield single. Leftfielder Judd Ward smacked a two-out RBI double to give Auburn a one-run advantage.

LSU tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on Smith’s RBI single, but Auburn regained the lead in the eighth on a run-scoring single by third baseman Edouard Julien.