LSU unable to make up ground on Auburn, drops second straight SEC home series

LSU relief pitcher Riley Cooper was credited with the win Friday over Alabama. He worked 1.2 scoreless innings in relief of starter Ma’Khail Hilliard. PHOTO BY: LSU athletics.

Right-hander Joseph Gonzalez limited LSU to three runs over six innings Saturday, as Auburn posted a 6-4 win over the Tigers in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

LSU (19-9, 4-5 in SEC) returns to action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when the Tigers play host to Grambling in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The game will be broadcast on 98.1-FM and it may be viewed on SEC Network +.

Gonzalez (3-0) allowed three runs on nine hits in six innings with two walks and one strikeout, firing 92 pitchers.

“Gonzalez did a nice job sinking the ball at the bottom of the zone,” LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson said. “He got some key outs and some contact outs when he was in trouble. I’ll give him credit, but I think we should have done a better job with the plan we had in place. This is one of the first times this season our offense hasn’t gotten the job done.”

LSU right-hander Samuel Dutton (0-1) was charged with the loss as he allowed two runs on four hits in 3.2 innings with two walks and three strikeouts.

First baseman Tre’ Morgan collected three hits and two RBI, and third baseman Jacob Berry produced three hits and one RBI to lead LSU’s offensive effort.

Auburn (19-9, 5-4 in SEC) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Brody Moore, and LSU tied the game in the second on an RBI single by second baseman Jordan Thompson.

Auburn regained the lead in the fourth on a run-scoring single by designated hitter Ryan Dyal, and it extended the advantage to 4-1 in the fifth on a two-run homer by first baseman Sonny DiChiara, his eighth dinger of the year.

LSU narrowed the deficit to 4-3 in the seventh on RBI singles by Morgan and by Berry, but Auburn countered with two runs in the eighth on run-scoring singles by centerfielder Kason Howell and by DiChiara.

Morgan launched a solo blast – his second homer of the year – in the bottom of the eighth, but Auburn closer Blake Burkhalter did not allow the Tigers to score again. He earned his sixth save of the season, as he worked the final 2.2 innings and gave up one run on one hit with no walks and three strikeouts.

“Mistakes are made in a college baseball game, and good teams kick the door in,” Johnson said. “If we want to be a great team, we can’t make as many mistakes, and we have to kick the door in.”

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