Early offense, stout pitching leads baseball to win against LSU


By Hannah Saad

Cody Estremera, Sports Editor

After leading its last SEC series for only one of the 27 innings, Alabama baseball (26-17, 5-14 SEC) dominated No. 14 LSU (27-16, 11-8 SEC) in its 6-1 win on Friday.

Alabama jumped on LSU starter Zach Hess immediately. On Hess’s third pitch of the day, T.J. Reeves sent a pitch over the left-field wall that nearly hit the top of the scoreboard. After a flyout, Tyler Gentry answered with a home run that was equally impressive.

The Crimson Tide added to its lead in the second and third innings, scoring a run in each frame. The run in the second came off a bases loaded sacrifice fly from John Trousdale, while Brett Auerbach singled in a runner from second in the third inning.

A fielder’s choice and an Auerbach double brought in Alabama’s final run of the game.

“I was really excited to see us throw the first punch tonight,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “On the weekends, we’ve had more instances than I’d like where we’ve been behind early. T.J. and Tyler came out and hit those home runs and kept our foot on the pedal.”

Auerbach, who came into the game hitting .237 in 41 games, finished perfect at the plate. He has reached base in his last eight at-bats dating back to Wednesday’s win against Jacksonville State.

“It hasn’t really worked out the way I wanted it to be, but that’s baseball sometimes,” Auerbach said. “You just have to keep fighting and grinding through it.”

The Crimson Tide’s pitching staff was led once again by Sam Finnerty. The right hander threw six innings and allowed just five hits and a walk.

Only three runners reached scoring position against the senior. Only one runner reached third.

“Fastball location, in and out,” Finnerty said on what worked well for him tonight. “The off speed was good.”

He also finished with six strikeouts.

Chase Lee and Brock Guffey finished out the game. Lee threw 1 2/3 innings, while Guffey threw the last 1 1/3. They combined for five strikeouts and three hits allowed.

Alongside Alabama’s dominate pitching, Breaux made a couple of standout defensive plays. The biggest came in the third inning.

With runners on first and second and two outs, Tiger centerfielder Zach Watson hit a ball on a line that kept traveling back towards the center-field wall. Breaux got to the warning track, leaped and made the grab while slamming into the wall.

“It would have been a double,” Bohannon said. “It would have been at least 3-2, then we come in and make it 4-0.”

Alabama and LSU reconvene at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Brock Love will start for the Crimson Tide, while Eric Walker starts for the Tigers.