Tigers Clinch Alabama Series With 12-8 Victory
LSU overcomes its largest deficit of season to win a game as the Tigers rebound from an early 6-1 gap to defeat the Crimson Tide.
BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU catcher Hayden Travinski launched a go-ahead three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday night, and left-hander Javen Coleman pitched 2.1 scoreless innings to lift the top-ranked Tigers to a series-clinching 12-8 victory over Alabama inside Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU’s overall record improved to 34-8 with the win and the Tigers are 14-5 in league play, while the Crimson Tide dropped to 30-14 overall and 9-11 in SEC action.
The series finale of the LSU-Alabama series is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT first pitch on Sunday. The matchup will be streamed on SEC Network +, and it can be heard on LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates.
LSU, which trailed 6-1 entering the bottom of the third inning, overcame its largest deficit to win a game this season. The Tigers had overcome three four-run deficits this year to win games prior to Saturday’s recovery from a five-run gap.
“That was fun tonight,” said LSU coach Jay Johnson. “These guys are special; they’re great players, but they’re better people. You really get to see that shine in adversity. We were down 6-1, so many things going against us, and so many guys contributed tonight. I’m really proud of the entire group and the effort to win the game.”
LSU trailed, 7-4, entering the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Tigers erupted for four runs in a rally highlighted by Travinski’s three-run dinger, his second homer of the year. He also provided the go-ahead home run in the ninth inning of LSU’s 7-6 win last Sunday at Ole Miss.
“(Alabama reliever) Alton Davis II is a real pitcher, so for Hayden to be able to hit the ball that hard and that far with his bat speed and short swing was really impressive. Awesome for Hayden, what a big moment.”
Making just his third appearance of the season after recovering from Tommy John surgery a year ago, Coleman (1-0) entered the game in the fourth inning and subdued Alabama’s bats to allow LSU to execute its rally. He finished his outing by tossing 2.1 scoreless and hitless innings with six strikeouts.
“I’m super proud of Javen,” Johnson said. “I’ve never seen anyone recover from Tommy John surgery in the fashion that he has, and it’s totally a credit to his motivation and to his work ethic.”
LSU reliever Thatcher Hurd entered the game with one out in the eighth, two Alabama runners on base and the Tigers clinging to a 9-8 lead. Hurd ended the inning with a strikeout and flyout, and he closed it out for the Tigers by retiring the side in order in the ninth for his first save of the season.
Alabama shortstop Jim Jarvis began the game with a solo shot to right field, putting the Crimson Tide in front, 1-0. Left fielder Tommy Seidl doubled to right center field and right fielder Andrew Pinckney reached on a fielding error. Catcher Dominic Tamez drove in another run to make the score 2-0.
LSU responded in the bottom of the second, scratching across one run to decrease its deficit in half. The frame started with a walk to third baseman Tommy White and a single from designated hitter Cade Beloso that hit off of first baseman Drew Williamson’s glove, which allowed White to advance to third.
Following a hit-by-pitch from shortstop Jordan Thompson, Travinski grounded into a double play and White came home from third to make the score 2-1.
Alabama added to its lead in the third, striking for four runs on the strength of a two-RBI double and an RBI single.
In the bottom of the third, White launched his 15th dinger of the season, plating three Tigers to reduce the deficit to 6-4. The runners on base, second baseman Gavin Dugas and left fielder Tre’ Morgan, reached on an HBP and a base hit, respectively, before White’s homer.
Pinckney hit a solo home run in the fourth inning to increase the Tide’s lead to 7-4.
Travinski, who unloaded a three-run shot against Ole Miss last weekend to give the Tigers a lead in the ninth, matched that effort against Alabama. With two runners on base, Travinski deposited a two-strike pitch into the left-field bleachers to give LSU an 8-7 lead.
Davis II (0-1) was charged with the loss after firing 2.1 innings and allowing five runs on five hits, including Travinski’s homer and a two-run homer in the eighth by first baseman Jared Jones.
In the bottom of the seventh, LSU plated another with a safety squeeze from Beloso. The Tigers had Crews and White each reach on singles with Crews taking third base on White’s single to right field. LSU led 9-7 heading to the eighth inning.
Alabama narrowed the gap to 9-8 with a run in the top of the eighth, but Jones’ homer and centerfielder Dylan Crews’ RBI single up the middle gave LSU a 12-8 advantage heading into the ninth inning.