LSU roughed up Tennessee starter Chase Burns for seven hits and five runs in 3.1 innings, the Vols made two fielding errors, LSU’s offense had nine extra-base hits and the Tigers took the game 6-4 to win the series.
Unlike last night, when neither team scored a run until the fifth, the second game of the series started out with some fireworks.
Leadoff hitter Maui Ahuna took a 3-2 pitch outta the park, to straight-away center for a home run in the top of the first inning. Unfortunately, Christian Moore struck out swinging and Blake Burke and Jared Dickey grounded out to end the inning.
The Tigers answered promptly — Chase Burns struck out the lead-off man, but then gave up an 0-2 double to Tre’ Morgan before striking out Dylan Crews. Then Burns gave up three-straight doubles: one to Tommy White, another to five-hitter Cade Beloso and then one to Josh Pearson that was an infield pop up that five Tennessee fielders watched hit the ground in between them. For some reason, Pearson’s hit was labeled a double instead of an error, but either way, an absolutely inexcusable mistake from the defense.
Burns ended up getting all three outs via Ks, but LSU pushed across three runs on four hits and led 3-1 after the first.
The Vols started the second inning strong, as freshman Dylan Dreiling knocked a lead-off base hit toward third base. But then, the “at-least one baserunning screw up per-game,” montra that the Vols seem to have adopted this season struck, as Dreiling got picked off at first. Hunter Ensley walked up and took LSU starter Ty Floyd deep to left field for a home run three pitches later.
Floyd sat Zane Denton and Christian Scott down in order, and Tennessee trailed 3-2 after the top of the second.
Chase Burns struck out two of the three Tigers he faced in the bottom of the inning and needed just 12 pitches to do it.
Again in the top of the third, UT managed some runners on the base paths. Charlie Taylor led the inning off with an out, but Ahuna drew a five-pitch walk. Then Moore followed with a single to center. Blake Burke managed to move the runners into scoring position with a ground-out, but Jared Dickey grounder out, too, and Tennessee stranded two runners that coulda been runs with a base hit.
Tennessee tried its best to blow the game open for LSU in the bottom of the third: Burns got Morgan to fly out to kick the inning off, but then a Christian Moore error at second gave the Tigers a baserunner. Burns induced another flyout from Tommy White and then proceeded to throw a wild pitch that advanced Crews (who’d reached on the error), toss a full-count walk and then hit the next batter. Burns made a deal with the devil and ended the house-on-fire, everything-is-fine inning with a swinging strikeout on a slider.
Dreiling started the fourth inning off with another base hit, and this time he didn’t get picked off at first, so Zane Denton’s home run a batter later gave the Vols a 4-3 lead. Floyd sat down Christian Scott via strikeout and Taylor via fly-ball out.
Burns struck out the first batter of the bottom of the fourth and then things went south, quick. Back-to-back home runs from nine-hole hitter Brady Neal and leadoff hitter Gavin Dugas followed by LSU’s fifth double of the game thanks to Tre’ Morgan 0-1 pitch into the gap in left-center. 5-4, Tigers, with just one out in B4.
It’s hard to ignore the pattern we’ve seen with Burns this year — he struck out seven in 3.1 IP, but all seven hits he surrendered were hard-hit, extra-base knocks. The five runs allowed raised his season ERA to 4.97 to go with a wild pitch, a hit batter and a walk. The slider is vicious, but he’s gotta develop his secondary pitches and locate his fastball better. Throwing 97, 98 MPH isn’t worth much if it’s hanging over the middle of the plate.
Vitello brought Andrew Lindsey out of the bullpen, and he surrendered a full-count walk to the first batter he faced. He managed to get Tommy White to fly out, then Christian Scott made the outfield’s third diving catch of the game to end the inning. By the top of the fifth, Jared Dickey in left, Hunter Ensley in center and Scott in right all made diving catches. Tip-of-the-cap there.
Tiger starter Ty Floyd breezed through the top of the fifth — Maui Ahuna and Christian Moore both struck out on their third time seeing Floyd for the game, and Burke grounded out to second to finish the frame after 14 pitches.
Lindsey looked to be cruising through the B5 with a leadoff strikeout and a subsequent grounder, but then eight-hole hitter Brayden Jobert smacked LSU’s eighth extra-base hit down the line in left, and it looked like the Tigers might strike again. But then Lindsey rang up Neal on a full-count, two-seam fastball (I think) at 95 MPH.
LSU went to the bullpen in the sixth, and Floyd’s day finished with 6 IP, six hits, four runs and a walk. The Tigers went to freshman Chase Shores out of the bullpen, and he came in throwing 99 MPH on the radar gun. Jared Dickey got his first hit of the game on an 0-2 pitch, Dylan Dreiling put some good lumber on a ball but flew out, and then Hunter Ensley singled up the middle for his second hit of the game. Zane Denton hit a 91 MPH changeup back to the pitcher for an out that advanced the runners. Christian Scott flew out to left, and Tennessee put up a zero by stranding two runners in scoring position. Love Scott’s defense, but he’s hitting .200 for the year. Gotta get more than that from a senior.
Gavin Dugas smashed LSU’s seventh double of the game to lead off the B6, and Lindsey hit Dylan Crews with a pitch a batter later. Tommy White brought home Dugas with a sac fly to shallow right and gave LSU a 6-4 lead going into the seventh after Lindsey got a first-pitch ground out to end the frame.
Sophomore Kavares Tears came in to pinch hit for Charlie Taylor in the T7, and it was good to see him swinging the bat again. I was a bit worried when he pulled up lame going to first in the A&M series (I think). Tears put a good lick on it, but it went right to the LSU right fielder. Chase Shores went on to punch out both Ahuna and Moore to end the inning.
The LSU relievers didn’t have any trouble finishing this one out: Shores threw two innings of two-hit, no-run ball, and then the Tigers brought another freshman out of the bullpen, Griffin Herring, who finished the game off with two innings of scoreless ball, including two strikeouts.
- UT’s 1-4 hitters combined to go 3-15 from the plate with two hits and six strikeouts. Maui Ahuna had the group’s lone RBI on his home run in the first
- Andrew Lindsey pitched 4.2 innings in relief and allowed just one run on five hits. He struck out three, walked on and hit a batter, but his season ERA is down to 2.18
- Hitters 5-7 were the only Vols who had any success: Dylan Dreiling went 2-4, Hunter Ensley went 2-4 with a home run and an RBI and Zane Denton went 1-4 with a two-run home run
- The bottom of the lineup is a mess when Dickey is in the outfield — eight-hole hitter Christian Scott went 0-3 with two strikeouts and two men left on base, while Charlie Taylor went 0-2 and is hitting .204 for the year
- Chase Burns is now 2-2 on the season with a 4.97 ERA. He’s allowed seven, six and five runs in his three SEC starts