LSU-Auburn decided by Josh Pearson’s walk-off single in bottom of the ninth

Josh Pearson was the hero in LSU baseball's 3-2 win over Auburn. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU left it as late as it possibly could, but it won its second SEC series in a row with a walk-off win 3-2 win over Auburn.

Josh Pearson came up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs gone in the bottom of ninth and delivered his second hit of the game when LSU (28-16, 7-13 SEC) needed it most to claim the win.

“Josh did a great job of slowing the game down right there, and he took care of it for us,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “He made his coach very happy. I’m very proud of Josh, he’s a guy I trust a lot. When we really need to win, I always want to write that guy’s name in the lineup. He’s a great competitor, and we saw that tonight.”

LSU finished the game with 10 hits while holding Auburn (20-22, 2-18 SEC) to three hits.  

Luke Holman got the start for LSU and put in a much better performance than he had in recent weeks. He went a 6.2 innings and threw a season-high 113 pitches. He gave up just two hits, three walks and one earned run while recording nine strikeouts. He didn’t give up a single extra-base hit.

The first runs of the game were scored in the third inning. Chris Stanfield singled on a bunt for the first hit of the game for Auburn and reached second base after Holman misfired on the throw to first. Afterwards, he advanced to third on a groundout. Another groundout brought him home to give Auburn a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, LSU responded thanks to its big hitters. Tommy White hit his 17th homer of the season and Jared Jones followed it up with his 19th homer to give LSU a 2-1 lead. Both homers came with two outs gone. It was White’s third-straight game with a homer.

Auburn responded in the fourth inning after Christian Hall walked and Holman hit another batter with a pitch to put two on base. A groundout advanced the runners to second and third before a wild pitch brought home Hall to tie the game 2-2.

LSU has a shot at retaking the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Hayden Travinski walked and Michael Braswell III singled to put runners on first and second. Steven Milam advanced the runners to second and third, but LSU tried a squeeze play and Travinski was out at home to keep the score tied.

The next few innings were scoreless, and Holman was pulled in the seventh inning for Gavin Guidry with two outs gone. Guidry struck out the first batter he faced to head to the bottom of the inning.

Ashton Larson hit a double to put a runner in scoring position with one out gone, but White struck out and Jones was intentionally walked before Josh Pearson struck out to end the threat.

Auburn threatened to take the lead in the eighth inning thanks to a pair of walks. Guidry walked one before being pulled for Nate Ackenhausen with one out gone. Ackenhuasen walked another to put a runner in scoring position but got a flyout and groundout to escape the danger.

Ackenhausen gave up a single with two outs gone before picking up and injury and being forced to leave the game in the top of the ninth. After the game, Johnson said that the injury isn’t serious and his arm is fine.

“I think he’s going to be ok,” Johnson said. “It isn’t an arm thing.”

Thatcher Hurd came in and got a flyout to give LSU a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the ninth.

Alex Milazzo started the inning with a single to center field to put the winning run on base. Mac Bingham hit a sacrifice bunt to send Milazzo to second before Larson got his third hit of the game to advance him to third.

White came up to bat and struck out swinging before Jones was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs gone. Pearson singled to left field to bring Milazzo home and give LSU the series with a 3-2 win.

“Just looking for something up at my hip that I could drive,” Pearson said. “I had kind of been chasing down all night. So just seeing something that I could hit over the middle of the field.”

Game three will start Sunday at 1 p.m.

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Will Nickel

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