Baton Rouge, LA - In a pitching duel between two freshmen Saturday at Alex Box Stadium, sixth-ranked LSU edged Georgia 2-1.
Tiger left-hander Jared Poche’ ran his record to 5-1 after tossing 8.2 innings and allowing one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Meanwhile, Bulldog Robert Tyler got a standing ovation from the crowd of 7,417 when he left with two outs in the eighth. Tyler dropped to 1-2 after surrendering two runs, only one earned, on five hits with four strikeouts. If it weren’t for two defensive lapses by Georgia, he might’ve pitched a shutout.
“The future is bright for the two starters tonight,” said Georgia coach Scott Stricklin. “LSU made the plays, and we made a couple of mistakes that cost us two runs. It’s tough to face the pitching and defense that LSU showed tonight and get a victory. They played a near-perfect game. Robert didn’t deserve to lose this game, but their guy didn’t either. I feel terrible for Robert that we couldn’t come through with a victory. He was still throwing 96 miles per hour in the eighth inning. There’s no bigger stage than Alex Box Stadium, and he impressed their fans as they all stood up for him when he left the game. They appreciate good baseball, and they were treated to a good game.”
The Tigers (20-4, 3-2 SEC) took a 1-0 lead in the first. Sean McMullen sliced a leadoff triple down the right field line. With one out, the Bulldogs looked to be out of the frame on a grounder by designated hitter Kade Scivicque, but Georgia was unable to turn a double play and McMullen scored.
Tyler did a nice job of pitching around a one-out error by second baseman Jess Posey in the third that got a Tiger to third base with one out. He retired the number three and four hitters in the lineup in Alex Bregman and Scivicque to keep it a one-run contest.
Georgia’s first base runner of the night came to start the fourth when freshman Stephen Wrenn reached on a walk. However, the Tigers responded with a double play. Georgia turned its SEC-leading 24th double play in the bottom of the frame.
Another miscue by Georgia in the fifth led to an unearned run and a 2-0 Tiger advantage. With one out, Kramer Robertson reached second on a throwing error by third baseman Hunter Cole. Right fielder Mark Laird smacked a run-scoring single to left for a 2-0 lead. On the play, Laird was thrown out trying to go to second.
The Bulldogs (14-10, 1-4 SEC) got their second baserunner of the game in the sixth on a one-out walk to Conor Welton. He has reached base safely now in 23 straight games. Holder followed with an infield single much to the dismay of the Tiger faithful who were hoping to see a no-hitter. After retiring Wrenn, junior Nelson Ward came through with a two-out, RBI-single. However on the play, Holder drifted too far off second base and was thrown out trying to get back to the bag to end the rally. Ward collected his team-leading 18th RBI to make it a 2-1 contest. In the ninth, Wrenn reached on a one-out single but then was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice by Ward. The Tigers brought in closer Joe Broussard, and he struck out Cole on three pitches to preserve the victory and notch his fifth save. Cole saw his 12-game hitting streak end, and it marked the first time all season he did not reach base in a game.
The series concludes Sunday with first pitch set for 1 p.m. EDT.