Berry’s homers, Hilliard’s right arm propel LSU in opener over Missouri

LSU's Jacob Berry (14, right) celebrates with Cade Doughty after Berry hit a pair of solo homers against Missouri./Photo by LSU sports information

Senior right-hand Ma’Khail Hilliard scattered seven hits over seven innings Thursday night, and third baseman Jacob Berry slugged two homers to lead LSU to a 5-3 win over Missouri in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

LSU (25-12, 8-8 in SEC) and Missouri (22-13, 5-11) meet again in the second game of the series at 6:30 p.m. Friday in a game that will be broadcast on 98.1-FM and streamed on SEC Network +.

Hilliard (4-0) limited Missouri to two runs on seven hits in seven innings with no walks and five strikeouts, firing 104 pitches.

“Ma’Khail was outstanding, I can’t even fathom where our team would be without him,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said. “He did a great job again tonight, and I just feel like we’re going to win every time he pitches.”

Missouri starter Spencer Miles (2-4) was charged with the loss as he surrendered five runs on 10 hits in 5.2 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.

Berry was 3-for-4 at the plate with two homers, two RBI and three runs scored. His first homer gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and his second dinger – his 12th of the season — tied the game at 2-2 in the third.

“Jacob hit three different pitches about as well as you can hit those pitches,” Johnson said. “He showed he’s one of the best hitters in the country; his mindset is great, he’s working his tail off, and I’m sure glad he’s here.”

LSU broke the 2-2 tie in the fifth with a three-run outburst highlighted by second baseman Cade Doughty’s RBI double and a two-run single by first baseman Tre’ Morgan.

Right-hander Paul Gervase worked the final 1.1 innings for LSU, earning his third save of the season. Gervase retired all four batters he faced, recording two strikeouts.

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