**Release/photo by Jenny Dilworth**
LSU scored three runs in the fifth inning and added two more in the sixth as the 11th ranked Tigers defeated 25th ranked South Carolina 5-2 on Saturday night to even the series at Alex Box Stadium. The Gamecocks are now 27-18 and 11-12 in the SEC with LSU 31-16 and 14-9 in league play.
LSU starter Jared Poche’ earned the win and is 8-3 on the year. He allowed one run on three hits in seven innings of work. He struck out three and walked six. LSU closer Hunter Newman pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his seventh save of the year. Gamecock starter Adam Hill took the loss and is 3-4 on the year. He allowed five runs on six hits in six innings of work with three walks and six strikeouts.
Carolina went ahead first with a run in the fourth inning. Jonah Bride led off with a double, followed by a walk to Riley Hogan and a one-out walk to Ross Grosvenor would load the bases. With two outs and the bases still full, Madison Stokes drew a walk to score Bride and give the Gamecocks a one-run lead.
The Tigers broke through with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a two-run lead. With one out and runners on first and second base, Cole Freeman knocked a triple down the first base line to score both runners. Antoine Duplantis would make it 3-1 for LSU with a sacrifice fly to center to score Freeman.
Zach Watson would increase LSU’s lead to 5-1 in the sixth inning with a two-out RBI single. Watson knocked a 1-1 pitch into right field to score a pair of runners and give the Tigers a four-run lead.
Carolina cut the deficit to three runs in the top of the eighth inning. Bride would be hit by a pitch, stole second base and scored on TJ Hopkins’ RBI single to center field.
The Gamecocks threatened again in the ninth inning with Madison Stokes leading off with a walk and pinch hitter Alex Destino belting a one-out single into right field to give the Gamecocks runners on the corners. Newman got out of the jam though and forced Carlos Cortes to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
LSU’s three-run fifth inning gave the Tigers their first lead in the series and helped lift them to the three-run win.
South Carolina was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base in the game.
Jonah Bride reached base in three of four plate appearances going 2-for-3 with two runs scored to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.
LT Tolbert, Ross Grosvenor and Madison Stokes all walked two times apiece. The Gamecocks walked seven times in the contest.
Senior right-hander Colie Bowers pitched two scoreless innings of relief with a pair of strikeouts for the Gamecocks.
QUOTABLE FROM HEAD COACH CHAD HOLBROOK
“We just didn’t do enough offensively. We had our chances early in the game to get more than a one-run lead before the fifth inning and we couldn’t take advantage of our opportunities. You are only going to get so many cracks against a pitcher like Jared. We couldn’t capitalize when we had the opportunities and that was the difference in the game. They capitalized when they had a few cracks. Runs that scored that hurt us that ended up being the difference in the game got on base via a walk or hit by pitch. We didn’t make them beat us and we kind of helped them.”
“Adam kept us in the game. He was real good early, but you have to throw special, you have to throw great to win here. He threw good, but there is a difference between good and great. He gave them some free passes there and that ended up scoring and ended being the difference in a tight game. He had good stuff. I thought he commanded the ball a lot better than he did the last couple of starts. We could have helped him a lot more offensively and maybe got him a win.”