Runs figure to be tough to come by anytime two starting pitchers sporting the two best ERAs in the Southeastern Conference hook up, particularly on a cold, blustery afternoon for baseball.
Texas A&M right-hander Mitchell Kilkenny went the distance to out-duel LSU right-hander Ma’Khail Hilliard and the Aggies held on to defeat the Tigers 3-1 and take the series in a rubber match on Saturday afternoon in College Station.
Kilkenny went through LSU like a buzz saw for the first seven innings, retiring the side in order in four of those frames while only allowing two hits. His only trouble came in the eighth inning.
Chris Reid got the rally started with a one-out single and Nick Webre came off the bench with two outs and produced a pinch hit single. An RBI single to right from Zach Watson got LSU on the board and put the tying runs on the corners, but Watson was caught stealing to end the threat.
Kilkenny returned in the ninth inning and retired the Tigers in order to put the finishing touches on a complete game five-hitter. He walked just one and struck out four in his latest gem.
LSU (20-13, 6-6 SEC) has now split the first four weekends of the 30-game SEC slate. LSU won two out of three in both of its series at Alex Box Stadium and has dropped two of three in each of its two road series.
Hilliard probably deserved better as he once again gave his team a chance to win in his fifth career start — all of which have in rubber matches.
Hilliard held the Aggies (23-9, 5-7) to one run over the first five innings, but two more were charged to him after he left the sixth inning without recording an out. He scattered five hits and three walks while striking out four.
The big blow of the game came after Hilliard gave way to Matt Beck in the sixth inning. Beck nearly escaped from the tough jam he inherited, by George Janca smoked a two-out, two-run triple to right-center field that put Texas A&M ahead 3-0.
LSU will be back in action on Tuesday night as Louisiana Tech comes to Alex Box Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.