LSU baseball looks for its second SEC series win against a struggling Auburn team

LSU baseball heads into a series with Auburn needing a win. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

Coming into the season, the idea of LSU baseball missing the SEC tournament seemed completely ridiculous.

Twelve of the 14 SEC teams make the tournament, and the Tigers were coming off a national championship win. However, LSU baseball currently sits outside of the tournament field with an SEC series against a struggling Auburn team on the horizon.

Auburn (20-20, 2-16 SEC) sits in dead last in the SEC and is the other team currently sitting outside of the conference tournament. The Tigers are coming off being swept by Mississippi State and have yet to claim an SEC series this season. They have not won a single conference game on the road.

LSU (26-16, 5-13 SEC) is fresh off the back of winning sits first SEC series of the year this weekend on the road to Missouri. The win could be crucial for LSU to make the conference tournament with it now having the head-to-head tiebreaker over Mizzou.

Auburn’s offense has been the strength of the team this season. It’s batting .274 this year with 63 homers.

Cooper McMurray leads the team with a .350 batting average, 49 RBI and 12 homers. Catcher Ike Irish is second on the team with a .326 batting average, 48 RBI and 11 homers, but he will likely be sidelined after suffering an ankle injury last Friday.

“I don’t know if that’s one, two or three weeks,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “He’ll be out for a period of time.”

LSU is batting .284 this season with 73 homers. The Tigers have been hitting plenty of home runs lately and had five in their midweek game against Nicholls just two days after having four in game three against Mizzou.

Jared Jones leads the way with 18 homers and Tommy White hit two homers on Tuesday to bring his season total to 15. White leads the team in batting average with a .341 and RBI with 41.

Auburn’s pitching has struggled greatly this season. Its pitching staff has 5.94 ERA this season, but its ERA jumps up to 8.48 in conference play. In just 149.2 innings pitched in conference play, Auburn has given up 219 hits and 156 runs. Both marks are the worst in the SEC.

Dylan Watts has bene the team’s Friday night pitcher in their last several series. Watts has a 5.66 ERA this season in 20.2 innings pitched. He went four innings against Mississippi State and surrendered five hits, one walk and two earned runs in the 8-1 loss.

Auburn has started several different pitchers in game two’s this season and went with Tanner Bauman last week against Mississippi State. Bauman went 3.1 innings and gave up six hits, one walks and one earned run. He has a 4.84 ERA thus season in two starts.

Auburn again has a host of options it could throw in came three. It went with Carson Meyers last week against Mississippi State. Meyers went six innings and gave up four hits, one earned run and on walk. He has a 3.72 ERA this season through 38.2 innings pitched.

LSU has switched up its pitching in recent weeks. Gage Jump has moved up to being the Friday night pitcher and put together one of his best showings of the season last week against Mizzou. He pitched all seven innings of LSU’s run-rule win and gave up three hits, one run, one walk and recorded 14 strikeouts. Jump has a 4.22 ERA on the season.

Luke Holman had a rough outing last week against Mizzou and went 4.2 innings allowing six hits, five earned runs and two walks. Holman still has the best ERA on the team though with a 2.78 on the season.

Nate Ackenhausen has been the game three pitcher for LSU the last few weeks and did what he needed to do against Mizzou to help secure LSU’s first SEC series win. He went four innings giving up five hits, two runs and one walk. He has a season ERA of 6.14.

Game one between Auburn and LSU will start at 6:30 p.m. from Alex Box Stadium. The game can be streamed on SEC Network+.

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Will Nickel

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