AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn cut a three-run deficit to one but ultimately came up short in the opener, losing 8-3 to LSU Thursday night at Plainsman Park.
Solo home runs from Steven Williams in the sixth and Ryan Dyal in the seventh got the Tigers to within a run, but LSU scored four runs with two outs in the final two frames to pull away late.
“I thought we managed a bit there, and then just kind of hung in there,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “We had two home runs but just didn’t have guys on before or after. (Ryan) Bliss had an amazing night at the plate, and it was good to see Ryan Dyal swing it better at the catching position. The last five runs are the ones that bother you.”
Jack Owen (1-4, 5.65) suffered the loss, and his counterpart, Landon Marceaux (5-4, 2.49), earned the win. Both starters tossed 6.1 innings. Owen allowed four runs on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts, while Marceaux allowed three runs on seventh hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts.
Seven of Auburn’s nine hits were for extra bases, but the Tigers went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Bliss led the way with three doubles, becoming the first Auburn player since Jordan Ebert in 2016 with three two-baggers in a game.
LSU started the scoring as the first five batters of the top of the third reached and the first run came in on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. The Tigers followed with a RBI single and sacrifice fly, but a double play got Auburn out of the inning.
Bliss started the bottom of the third with his second double in as many at-bats and came in to score on a RBI single from Tyler Miller, his SEC best 52nd RBI of the season.
LSU put a pair aboard with one out in the fifth, but a caught stealing and ground ball ended the frame without any damage done.
After Owen escaped the jam, Judd Ward started the home half with a double to left center and advanced to third on a one-out ground ball but was left stranded as a strikeout ended the frame.
LSU extended its lead to 4-1 with a two-out double and RBI single in the sixth, but Auburn answered with William’s 10th home run of the year and 33rd of his career, a solo shot to right center.
The Tigers kept cutting into the lead as Dyal hit his second homer in the last three games to make it a 4-3 ballgame. Bliss turned in his third double of the game and advanced to third on a balk but was left there as a strikeout and flyout ended the inning.
Owen handed it over to Will Morrison with one out in the seventh, and the Tigers kept LSU scoreless. However, the visiting Tigers scored four two-out runs in the final two frames to get to the 8-3 final.
Auburn and LSU are set to play game two of the series Friday at 7 p.m. CT.