Heading down the ninth, LSU was an offense that looked dead in the water. Trailing 2-1 in the ninth and until their final out, the Tigers exploded in four runs in the inning to earn a 5-2 win over Mississippi State.
It was the first SEC series win of the season for LSU (21-9, 5-5) and doing it the way of the comeback posted Friday night was another sign of growth for this group. Not only until their last out, but their last strike, receiver Hayden Travinski slammed his way into a walk and pinched hitter Josh Stevenson was hit by a pitch to put the Tigers in position.
At this point, LSU had only collected three hits and was 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. But turning the top of the formation one last time was exactly what the doctor ordered as Tre ‘Morgan delivered a clutch single that scored two and Dylan Crews capped the inning with a home run from the opposite field to put the Tigers above.
For this highly skilled offense to overcome what has been an otherwise disappointing game so far, striking out 13 times with just three hits before the ninth inning explosion shows just how mentally tough this team can be when it clicks. at the right time.
What kept LSU’s offense in the game was Ma’Khail Hilliard’s performance on the mound, who did his job in preventing this Mississippi State offense from retiring in its six innings on the mound. Hilliard’s breaking ball was the real winner of the night, consistently confusing the Bulldogs’ batters, hitting fives and leaving the field with clutch pitches.
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Hilliard’s troubles in the game came in the fifth when Mississippi State put two runs on the board as a trio of singles led the Bulldogs to a narrow 2-1 lead. The senior ran into more trouble in the seventh, allowing a double and a single to put the runners into the corners before being replaced by Eric Reyzelman.
What was impressive about Hilliard’s start was his ability to keep his pitch count low, going over the sixth inning despite 11 hits, saving a number of LSU big balls out of the bullpen for more. late this weekend. Reyzelman’s seventh inning was one of the best stands of the season for the Tigers as he struck out three of the next four batters with a pair of strikeouts to keep a game one run.
With Johnson finally substituted in the seventh inning, the offense needed to find some semblance of a pulse, having gone the entire game from the first inning without a hit. It came a little late, but it’s better than ever as LSU picked up a potential win by changing the season.
LSU will look to clinch the series Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
(Photo courtesy of LSUsports)