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Homers propel top ranked LSU to 6-4 win over No. 9 Tennessee

The Tigers will go for the sweep at 1 pm Saturday.
Gavin Dugas
Posted at 12:02 AM, Apr 01, 2023

BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU catcher Brady Neal and second baseman Gavin Dugas back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to propel the top-ranked Tigers to a 6-4 victory over No. 9 Tennessee inside Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

LSU, which clinched its third straight SEC series win, improved to 24-3 overall and 6-2 in the SEC, while the Vols fell to 20-8 on the year and 3-5 in conference play.

The series finale of the LSU-Tennessee series is set to begin at 1 p.m. CT and it may be viewed on SEC Network+. The matchup can also be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network.

“I’m really proud of the team tonight in every phase of the game,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “I think our offense did a tremendous job against a great pitcher in (UT starter) Chase Burns. That was a high-level offensive performance, getting 12 hits and six runs on the board against some excellent arms.”

LSU starter Ty Floyd (5-0) earned the win after battling through tough situations over his 5.0 innings of work. He finished his outing with four strikeouts while giving up four runs on six hits.

Tiger relievers Chase Shores and Griffin Herring gave LSU phenomenal work down the stretch over the final four innings, allowing no runs on two hits. Herring earned his first save of the season, pitching 2.0 scoreless innings with no hits, no walks and four strikeouts.

“Chase and Griffin are two future Major League pitchers,” Johnson said. “I think their poise really stands out to me, because you know they’re talented. In that environment, to slow the game down and execute like that shows a lot about both of them.”

Burns (2-2) was charged with the loss after tossing 3.1 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits.

Tennessee shortstop Maui Ahuna opened the scoring for the Vols in the top of the first. He launched a home run to center field to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

LSU responded in the bottom of the first with three straight doubles that yielded three runs. First baseman Tre’ Morgan started the offensive output with the first of four doubles in the inning.

After a strikeout, LSU posted three straight doubles by third baseman Tommy White, designated hitter Cade Beloso and right fielder Josh Pearson. The Tigers finished with seven doubles on the night.

Tennessee tightened the margin in the second inning with another solo shot to left field from centerfielder Hunter Ensley, and third baseman Zane Denton’s two-run dinger to right-center allowed Tennessee to retake the lead, 4-3.

Neal, the Tigers’ freshman catcher, immediately answered with a solo dinger in the bottom half, tying the game at 4-4.

“Brady is a really confident young man,” Johnson said. “He is playing phenomenal baseball and continues to take professional at-bats against high-level pitching.”

Dugas put LSU ahead to stay by sending his ninth homer of the season over the left-field wall. In the sixth inning, a sac fly by White tacked on another run to increase the lead to 6-4.

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