Am I the only LSU fan that had band-aids on his fingers from biting my nails during all these close games? You would think that I had become accustomed to the Tigers being able to pull through in these close game, LSU improves its one-run record to 12-4, but maybe I just need therapy.
This game was hyped as a great pitching duel between Alex Woods and Kevin Gausman, but by their standards they struggled. Gausman went six innings, allowed 10 hits and three earned runs. He did strike out nine and did not allow a walk. Woods went seven innings and allowed only eight hits. He allowed three earned runs and issued two walk while striking out two.
The two pitchers were consistent, but both offenses were ready for them. The two offenses came out of the gate red hot and took advantage of early base-runners. Jacoby Jones (1/3, HR, run, 2 RBI and BB) led off the bottom half of the first with a homerun. Georgia tied the score with a Jonathan Hester (2/4) RBI single.
LSU responded with a two-run third thanks to the Tigers reaching base on their first two at-bats. Jordy Snikeris (2/4, RBI) and Jones drove in the two runs. But with those two on base, Arby Fields hit into a inning ending double-play. Georgia couldn’t let LSU be the only inefficient offense as they left the bases loaded to end their third inning. They tied the score at three following a Brett Deloach (2/5, RBI) and Peter Verdin (2/4, RBI) singles that scored two runs. Gausman ended the damage by striking out the last two batters.
Tyler Hanover (2/4, 2 runs) led off the fourth with a double, and would advance to third after a pass ball. Tyler Moore scored Hanover with a ground out to second base. Catching a theme here? Georgia answer LSU’s run and added one more in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. The Dawg’s first two batters reached base and would score without another hit earned. Deloach scored on a wild pitch and Hunter Cole scored following a Hanover error on third base.
We wrote in our preview about the big difference in the two team’s bullpen, and it was the difference in the game. Chris Cotton pitched the seventh and eighth inning allowing only one hit and struck out two. The bottom of the eighth is where LSU won the game. Bryan Benzor replaced Woods and allowed a lead-off hit to Raph Rhymes (3/4, run). The next at-bat Austin Nola (1/4, 2 runs, RBI, HR) hit a two-run bomb that I think went far enough to do damage to the Tiger stadium construction.
Nick Goody entered the ninth to close the game, but made things interesting. Goody gave up a lead-off single to Curt Powell (2/5). Powell stole second base and advanced to third on a ground out to second base. With only one out, Goody had to shut down the Georgia offense for two at- bats and he did.
Chris Cotton earned the win and improves his record to 5-0. Goody really earned his eighth save on the season. The win improves LSU’s overall record to 34-9 and 13-6 in SEC play.
The Tigers will have a chance to win the series on Saturday. Ryan Eades will take the mound for LSU and looks to improve from his performance last week against Kentucky. Georgia will start Michael Palazzone. Palzzone has a ho-hum 2-3 record in conference play, but has won his last two outings on the road at Florida and against Ole Miss. In those two outings he pitched 15.1 innings, allowed six earned runs and struck out 13.
The game starts at 6:30pm and will air on CSS and ESPN3.com.
Topics: Alex Woods, Arby Fields, Austin Nola, Brett Deloach, Bryan Benzor, Chris Cotton, Curt Powell, Georgia Baseball, Hunter Cole, Jacoby Jones, Jonathan Hester, Jordy Snikeris, Kevin Gausman, LSU Baseball, Nick Goody, Peter Verdin, Raph Rhymes, SEC Baseball, Tyler Hanover, Tyler Moore