Left fielder Josh Pearson’s first home run of the season couldn’t have come at a better time for No. 5 LSU on Thursday night in Gm. 1 of the final Southeastern Conference series of the season at Foley Field in Athens.
And shortstop Jordan Thompson followed Pearson immediately afterwards with his second home run of the game, helping LSU strike for three runs in the top of the 12th and held on to beat Georgia, 8-5.
Brayden Jobert, Hayden Travinski, Dylan Crews, Thompson and Pearson all homered for LSU.
LSU (41-12, 18-9 SEC) scored all eight of its runs courtesy of its six home runs, while Georgia (28-25,10-18) hit three home runs in the game. The six home runs from the Tigers is the most in a game since it also hit six on March 14, 2021, versus UT San Antonio in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The teams resume the series at 5 p.m. Friday in a game that will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network and streamed on SEC Network +.
Crews’ home run in the top of the ninth put LSU up 5-3, but Georgia tied the game and sent the into extra innings when shortstop Sebastain Murillo and center fielder Ben Anderson each homered off of Tigers’ reliever Thatcher Hurd.
Hurd (4-2) stayed in and finished the game, holding on to redeem himself. He pitched five innings, giving up two runs on three hits and striking out five.
LSU ace Paul Skenes started and pitched seven complete innings. He threw 116 pitches, allowing two runs on four hits, striking out 12 and walking one. He was relieved by Riley Cooper to start the bottom of the eighth with a 4-2 lead but faced one batter and yielded to Hurd.
Skenes has a nation’s-leading 164 strikeouts this season, which ranks No. 2 on the all-time LSU single-season list. Ben McDonald holds the LSU single-season mark with 202 Ks in 1989.
LSU led 4-3 going into the ninth when Crews homered to give the Tigers a two-run lead.
With the game tied 5-5 entering the 12th inning, LSU designated hitter Hayden Travinski lined a lead-off double, and Pearson followed with a blast over the right-centerfield wall.
LSU extended the lead to 8-5 on Thompson’s second homer of the game and his 11th of the season.
“Hayden gave us a great lead-off at-bat in the 12th, and that was a great swing by Josh,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said. “We had good at-bats throughout the night, and it started paying off with the results late in the game.
Hurd retired eight straight batters over the final 2.2 innings to secure the victory.
“Thatcher was great, he competed, he was sound and produced a great tempo,” Johnson said. “He really pitched well tonight.”
Georgia reliever Chandler Marsh (1-3) was charged with the loss. He surrendered two runs on two hits in 2.0 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
LSU grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Jobert launched a two-run homer – his ninth of the year — after Thompson had walked and stole second and third base.
The Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run homer by catcher Will David, his sixth dinger of the season.
Solo home runs from Travinski and Thompson in the top of the eighth allowed the Tigers to break a tie and take a 4-2 lead. Georgia then narrowed the gap to 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth when LSU misplayed a two-out grounder by designated hitter Fernando Gonzalez, allowing centerfielder Ben Anderson to score from third.
Crews’ home run was his 14th of the season to increase the Tigers’ margin to 5-3, but Georgia tied the contest in the bottom of the frame on solo homers by Murillo and Anderson.
Out. Of. Here.— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 19, 2023