No. 2 LSU and Mississippi State combine for 17 runs, Tigers narrowly win by one run

No. 2 LSU narrowly beat Mississippi State in game two to keep the series alive. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

No. 2 LSU baseball won a slugfest with Mississippi State 9-8 to keep the series alive heading into game three.

Both teams combined for 21 hits and 17 runs in a game that had plenty of fireworks. Mississippi State almost came back from trailing by eight runs. The Bulldogs outscored LSU 7-0 after the third inning, but LSU held on in the end.

Tommy White had two hits, one home run and three RBI for LSU (17-3, 1-1 SEC). Bryce Chance had two hits, one home run and four RBI for MSU (14-6, 1-1 SEC).

“We had a great start to the game by our offense,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “We have talented players that are going through a lot of ‘firsts’ this year, and I’m really proud of them today. We executed what we wanted to do at the plate and kept putting pressure on their pitchers.

There were at least two runs scored in every inning of the game until the sixth inning. LSU got things started in the top of the first inning with three runs that came courtesy of a pair of homers.

White hit a solo shot to left field to give LSU a 1-0 lead with one out gone. Jared Jones followed up with a two-RBI homer after a Brady Neal walk to bring the score to 3-0.

Gage Jump kept the Bulldogs’ offense quiet in the first inning and Mac Bingham joined the home run party in the top of the second inning. Alex Milazzo singled with one out gone before Bingham hit a two-RBI bomb to give LSU a 5-0 lead heading to the bottom of the second.

A walk and a single put runners on first and third for Mississippi State before a wild pitch scored the runner from third. It was the first earned run that Jump had given up this season. Jump recorded a strikeout to end the inning with the Tigers up 5-1.

Hayden Travinski joined in with a homer of his own in the top of the third inning. Jones reached base from a walk before Travinski hit his fourth home run of the year to score two. Steven Milam, Milazzo and Bingham were walked in consecutive at bats to load the bases for LSU with two outs gone. White hit a two-RBI single to bring the score to 9-1 heading to the bottom of the third.

Jump walked a batter in the bottom of the inning but was able to maintain the 9-1 lead heading into the fourth inning. LSU left two runners on base in the fourth inning after Josh Pearson was thrown out at home while trying to score on a Milam single.

MSU responded to LSU’s onslaught of homers with a home run of its own in the bottom of the fourth. Chance hit a three-RBI blast down the left field line to bring the score to 9-4. Jump gave up a single and hit a batter with a pitch before getting pulled for Will Hellmers with one out to go. Jump finished with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched. He gave up four hits, four runs and three walks.

LSU put a runner on base in the top of the fifth thanks to a walk but couldn’t add anything else. MSU continued to chip away at the Tigers’ lead in the bottom of the inning. Logan Kohler hit an RBI double, and a sac fly from Chance scored another to bring the game within three runs. LSU’s 9-1 lead had shrunk to a 9-6 lead in just two innings.

The sixth inning was the first inning without either team scoring. LSU had the first thee up, three down inning of the game at the top of the frame and MSU followed it up with the second three up, three down inning in the bottom.

LSU couldn’t add to its lead after Neal struck out with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh. MSU inched closer to the LSU lead after an RBI single from Amani Larry and an RBI double from David Mershon brought the score to 9-8 heading to the eighth inning.

Christian Little came in to pitch with runners on first and second and one out gone in the bottom of the eighth. A sharp defensive play from White secured the double play and ended the inning.

LSU left runners on third and second to head to the bottom of the inning with a one run lead. Ackenhausen came in and forced a three up, three down inning to end the game 9-8.

“We had a lot of pitchers rolling out there for the first time in an environment like this, and we bent but we didn’t break,” Johnson said. “There’s not going to be an easy game on our schedule for the rest of the season, and I think our players now understand that and were able to execute mentally in a game like today.”

LSU and Mississippi State play in a rubber match tomorrow at 1 p.m.

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Will Nickel

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