Senior right-hander Ma’Khail Hilliard limited Georgia to two runs through six innings Friday night, and LSU blasted three homers as the Tigers defeated the Bulldogs, 6-2, in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU (28-13, 11-8 in SEC) faces Georgia (29-13, 11-8) again Saturday at 2 p.m. with game being broadcast locally by 98.1-FM and streamed on SEC Network +.
Hilliard (5-0) allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings with three walks and seven strikeouts. He fired 113 pitches, 79 for strikes.
Georgia starting pitcher Nolan Crisp (1-2) was charged with the loss as he surrendered five runs on six hits in 3.1 innings with one walk and three strikeouts.
“Great game tonight,” LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson said. “Ma’Khail was exceptional and demonstrated again why we call him the ace of our staff. He competes with such poise and confidence, and he delivered for us in a huge way against a very good team.”
The Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when catcher Tyler McManus unloaded a two-run homer, his fourth blast of the season.
Georgia, however, tied the game in the top of the third when leftfielder Connor Tate blasted a two-run dinger, his sixth homer of the year.
Second baseman Cade Doughty launched another two-run homer – his ninth of the year – in the third inning to give the Tigers a lead they would not relinquish.
“Another great two-strike at-bat by Cade,” Johnson said. “He got the ball up against Crisp, which you have to do because he does a good job of sinking his fastball. Cade got inside it, and I can’t believe it got out because it was hit so low and so hard, but that’s a testament to Cade’s strength and ability.”
LSU added a run in the fourth on leftfielder Josh Stevenson’s sacrifice fly, and centerfielder Dylan Crews’ solo homer in the seventh increased the advantage to 6-2. The homer was the 11th of the season for Crews.
LSU relievers Eric Reyzelman, Riley Cooper and Paul Gervase combined to blank the Bulldogs over the final three innings, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts.
Gervase earned his fourth save of the season, working 1.1 perfect innings with two strikeouts.