By TIGER RAG NEWS SERVICES
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – LSU starting pitcher Alex Lange fired 11 strikeouts in 6.1 innings Friday night, and the 10th-ranked Tigers broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the top of the ninth inning to edge No. 2 Texas A&M, 3-2, at Blue Bell Park.
The loss ended the Aggies’ 19-game home win streak, which dated back to last season. Texas A&M was 16-0 at home this season prior to Friday’s setback.
LSU improved to 16-6 overall and 2-3 in the SEC, while Texas A&M dropped to 20-3 and 3-2. The teams conclude the series at 2 p.m. CT Saturday in a game that may be viewed online on SEC Network +. The game can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including flagship WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge, and live audio and live stats are available at www.LSUsports.net.
LSU scored the eventual winning run in the top of the ninth as third baseman Greg Deichmann led off the frame with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Cole Freeman. Shortstop Kramer Robertson then hit a hard grounder that was misplayed by Texas A&M second baseman Ryne Birk, allowing Deichmann to score from second base.
Freshman right-hander Caleb Gilbert (3-1) earned the relief win as he held the Aggies scoreless over the final 1.1 innings. Gilbert gave up a lead-off single to A&M leftfielder J.B. Moss in the bottom of the ninth, and Moss moved to second base on Birk’s sacrifice bunt.
Gilbert then struck out third baseman Boomer White, but the Aggies stayed alive when Deichmann misplayed a grounder off the bat of first baseman Hunter Melton. Gilbert, however, fanned rightfielder Nick Banks to end the game and hand the Aggies their first loss at home this season.
Texas A&M reliever Mark Ecker, the third of six Aggie pitchers, was charged with the loss as he surrendered two unearned runs on three hits in 2.1 innings with no walks and one strikeout.
Lange threw 117 pitches in his 6.1 inning outing, limiting the Aggies to two runs on five hits with six walks and a season-high 11 strikeouts.
“That was a tremendous effort by our entire team in a game we really needed to win,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It was a big win against a great team that rarely loses in this ball park. Alex Lange was magnificent tonight, and Hunter Newman and Caleb Gilbert were outstanding in relief. We battled throughout the game and made enough plays to earn a hard-fought win.”
The Tigers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning as Freeman singled, stole second and scored when Melton mishandled a chopper off the bat of LSU rightfielder Antoine Duplantis.
The Aggies plated two runs in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead against LSU starter Alex Lange. Designated hitter Ronnie Gideon led off the frame with a home run – his third dinger of the season – and the second run scored when White delivered a two-out, RBI single to score shortstop George Janca.
LSU tied the game in the seventh when Freeman doubled, moved to thrid on a passed ball and scored on Robertson’s groundout.