AUBURN, Ala. – The sweep just wasn't in the cards.
No. 8 LSU scored in the ninth to beat Auburn 4-3 on Sunday to salvage the final game of the weekend series at Plainsman Park. The loss dropped Auburn's record to 15-9, 4-2 SEC. LSU is now 18-6, 3-3 SEC.
"You look at the track record of the games we have played with LSU and it goes back awhile to when either side has had a big lead," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "It was no different today and no different this weekend. When you get in these close games, it seems one pitch, one play, a walk, a hit or a ground ball is the difference and it was today."
LSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead with three unearned runs in the top of the fourth, capitalizing on the first of two Auburn errors in the game. That would be all Auburn starter Daniel Koger would allow, however, as he worked seven innings, allowing seven hits and striking out two. The freshman lefty retired the first nine hitters he faced before JaCoby Jones led off the LSU fourth with a grounder to second that Creede Simpson couldn't handle. A Raph Rhymes one-out RBI single scored Jones and then Ty Ross hit a two-out single that scored Mason Katz and Rhymes for the three-run lead.
Ryan Tella got two of the runs back with one swing of the bat in the sixth, swatting his first home run of the season into the visitors bullpen in right off of LSU starter Aaron Nola. The home run brought home Jay Gonzalez, who had doubled to lead off the inning.
Tella finished the game 2-for-4 with a triple and the homer, extending his hitting streak to a career-best nine games.
Auburn tied the game at 3-3 with two outs in the seventh as Caleb Bowen collected his first career triple and scored on a Zach Alvord RBI single to center.
LSU scored the winning run following a leadoff walk to Jared Foster by Trey Cochran-Gill (1-1). A sac bunt moved Foster into scoring position and a Jones single to center scored him for the final run of the day.
Chris Cotteon (2-0) got the win out of the LSU bullpen, entering with none on and one out in the eighth, and getting the final two outs of the frame.
Kurt McCune earned his first save of the season by throwing the ninth, issuing a two-out walk to Dan Glevenyak but stranding him at first.
Despite the loss on Sunday Auburn still picked up a third straight series win over its SEC West rival, marking the first time since 1988-90 that Auburn has claimed three straight series wins over LSU. It also gave Auburn back-to-back series wins over a top-12 team to open the SEC season. The last time Auburn won its first two series in SEC play was in 2003.
Garrett Cooper finished the game 0-for-4, marking the first time this season that he did not reach base safely in a game.