Papierski's Homer Lifts LSU to 5-3 Victory in Game 2
BATON ROUGE, La. – Catcher Michael Papierski‘s two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning was the difference Friday evening, as LSU took Game 2 of the weekend series against Auburn by a score of 5-3 in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
After graduating earlier in the day, LSU left-hander Jared Poche’ put in another strong performance, allowing just one earned run on six hits in 6.2 innings pitched, though he was not involved in the decision.
Right-hander Zack Hess (6-1) was credited with the relief win for the Tigers. In 1.1 innings pitched, Hess gave up no earned runs and two hits while walking one and striking out two.
Auburn starter Keegan Thompson (5-4) was charged with the loss, surrendering five earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four in seven innings pitched.
“Our kids really competed hard tonight against an outstanding pitcher, and he was competing hard right back, and that’s what made it so much fun,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Jared Poche’ knew he couldn’t give up much against a pitcher like Keegan Thompson, and Jared kept us right there and left the game with a lead.
“Auburn ties the game after we make an error, but Papierski comes through with a big home run in the seventh, and our bullpen does the job to secure the victory. It was a great team victory, our kids played with a lot of intensity and energy and they earned an important win.”
Reliever Hunter Newman earned his eighth save of the year for LSU, giving up just one hit and striking out one in the ninth inning.
Game 3 between LSU and Auburn is scheduled for Saturday at 12 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and will broadcast live on 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Fans can also go to LSUsports.net for live stats and audio.
LSU struck first in the bottom of the third inning. After a Papierski walk, Zach Watson advanced Papierski to third with a one-out single. Kramer Robertson followed by knocking Papierski in with an RBI groundout on a hit-and-run, giving LSU the 1-0 lead.
Auburn threatened in the top of the fifth after the first two batters of the inning walked, but Poche’ worked his way out of the jam. After a fly ball to right field advanced a runner to third, Papierski caught Conor Davis stealing for out number two, and second baseman Cole Freeman made a nice play on a ground ball chopped up the middle, throwing to first for the final out of the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, LSU pushed its lead to three runs. Following a single by Beau Jordan, Watson hit a two-run home run to left field to give LSU the 3-0 advantage.
Poche’ allowed his first run in the top of the sixth. Again, the first two Auburn hitters reached base, and Jonah Todd eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Dylan Ingram, closing the gap to 3-1.
Auburn leveled the score at three in the top of the seventh. Poche’ exited the game in the inning after a two-out single by Jay Estes with nobody on. Hess replaced Poche’ on the mound, facing Will Holland. Holland hit a ground ball to third, but a throw in the dirt by third baseman Josh Smith got past first baseman Nick Coomes, allowing Estes to score from first and Holland to reach third.
The following at bat, Jonah Todd singled to left, driving in Holland and tying the game at 3-3 with two unearned runs.
In the bottom half of the inning, Papierski snatched the lead right back for LSU with his two-run home run to right field that plated Smith, who walked to begin the inning.