No. 2 LSU baseball roars back in the ninth inning to crush Southeastern’s upset hopes

No. 2 LSU baseball roared back in the ninth inning to beat Southeastern Louisiana 4-3. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

Feb. 28, 2018, was the last time Southeastern beat LSU in baseball. For a while, it looked like the Lions would break that streak.

No. 2 LSU baseball was down to its last out and trailing by two runs against Southeastern Louisiana before a late Paxton Kling two RBI double saved the Tigers.

LSU (12-1) was down 3-1 heading into the ninth inning, but it managed to score three runs with two outs gone to take the lead 4-3 and crush Southeastern’s (9-5) hopes of an upset.

“A tip of the cap to Southeastern, they made us earn it tonight,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “It was a tough game, but I’m just really proud of our guys for sticking with it. I think the depth of our team really shined tonight. We bent a little in the bullpen, but we didn’t break.

Left-handed freshman Kade Anderson played a perfect first few innings and struck out the first seven batters he faced. The start was his third of the season after pitching 5.0 innings against Rice without giving up a run.

He didn’t allow a Lion to reach base until the fourth inning when he walked Jude Hall. He allowed a hit from Ryan Brome but recorded three more strikeouts to get out of the inning without allowing anything else.

The Tigers were struggling to score to start the night as well. LSU’s offense went three up, three down in the first and third innings and headed to the fourth inning with just one hit. Tommy White recorded another hit in the fourth inning, but that was all for LSU.

LSU finally got on the board in the top of the fifth thanks to a Mac Bingham single that brought home Steven Milam. It gave LSU a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.

Anderson allowed a walk in the fifth inning but again recorded three strikeouts to head to the sixth inning without allowing a score. He finally found himself in trouble in the sixth inning when he gave up a double to Hall that he stretched into an extra base thanks to an error.

With a runner on third and no out’s gone Anderson was pulled for Fidel Ulloa. He finished the game with 13 strikeouts and allowed just two hits, two walks and one unearned run.

Southeastern scored on a groundout to tie the game at 1-1 before Ulloa got out of the inning without allowing anything else.

LSU managed to get two runners on base in the seventh when Hayden Tarvinski was hit by a pitch and Jared Jones was walked, but that was all for LSU. Ulloa struck out two batters before giving up back-to-back hits that gave Southeastern a 2-1 lead. A groundout ended the inning.

LSU couldn’t manage to tie the game in the eighth inning and Ulloa was pulled for Justin Loer to start the bottom of the eight. Loer walked the first batter he faced before being pulled for Gavin Guidry.

Guidry gave up an RBI single to Hall that scored another for the Lions and brough the lead to 3-1. Guidry managed to get out of the inning without allowing anymore runs, but LSU was down to its last three outs of the night to make something happen.

Jake Brown fouled out and Milam hit a single before Jones flied out to send LSU down to its last out with the tying run at the plate. Bingham worked a full-count walk and brought Ethen Frey up to bat.

Frey hit an RBI double to bring the score to 2-3 and brought Kling up to bat.

“Really proud of Ethan, I consider him to be a starting player, but it’s just hard to get everybody in the  game,” Johnson said. “He just comes to the field every day ready to work, and you saw how it paid off tonight.”

Kling hit a double to left field that rolled all the way to the wall and scored two more Tigers and give LSU the lead. Josh Pearson grounded out to end the inning, but LSU had retaken the lead 4-3.

“Paxton had a tough game before that last at-bat, but he didn’t let it affect him,” Johnson said. “The best hitters may go 0-for-4, but they want that fifth at-bat.”

Nate Ackenhausen came in for the bottom of the ninth inning to close out the game. Ackenhausen struck out the side to end the game and the Lions’ upset hopes.

LSU’s next game is on Friday against Xavier and will start at 6:30 p.m.

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