Da Boot Sports
By: David Penn
TUSCALOOSA, AL - Ma’Khail Hilliard started on the mound for #20 LSU, and has not lost a start in the last three seasons.
The Tide would strike first, scoring a run in the first and third innings, but LSU would put up five runs in the visitor half of the fifth frame.
Alabama answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth but the Tigers would get add the go ahead run in the sixth for the final margin of the game.
Hilliard went four innings on the bump for LSU and began the fifth inning. He allowed five runs (one unearned) on
eight hits, walking no batters and striking out four.
Riley Cooper (4-2), Eric Rayzelman, and Jacob Hasty drew middle relief assignments with Cooper and Rayzelman each pitching 1.2 innings. Reyzelman would earn Ks on the first four batters he faced. Paul Gervase drew closing honors and earned the save and Cooper was credited with the win.
Coach Jay Johnson reflected on his team playing close games, “Fundamentals, competitiveness and character are going
to decide one-run games, and I think we showed all of those tonight. Our pitchers did a great job throwing strikes, we strung together some quality at-bats and we made some nice plays on defense. We didn’t have a great flow to the game early, but we stayed with it, and that showed the competitiveness and character of our team.”
The offense was led by the bat of first baseman Tre’ Morgan who went 3-5 with a homerun and two RBIs. Catcher Tyler McManus also sent an offering into the seats for his fifth homerun of the year which is what started the scoring for the Tigers in the fifth inning. Jacob Berry and Josh Pearson each had a pair of hits in the contest.
Brock Guffey was credited with the loss for the Tide, coming on in relief and giving up a run on four hits, two walks, and two Ks.
Jim Jarvis got Alabama on the board in the first inning with a single, then advanced to second on a wild pitch, arrived at third on a sac fly, and scored on a passed ball. A pair of doubles in the third inning would give Bama the 2-0 edge and five straight singles in the bottom of the fifth got the Tide to a 5-5 tie after five innings.
LSU improved to 31-14, 13-9 on the season and Alabama dropped to 25-21, 9-13. Game 2 of the series will be Saturday
at 7:30pm CT and will be broadcast on the SEC network as well as the LSU Sports Radio Network.