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March 23, 2013- -
BATON ROUGE, La. | The Auburn baseball team allowed No. 3 LSU to jump out to an early lead for the second straight night and was unable to collect a key hit in the later innings as it fell 5-1 on Saturday night at Alex Box Stadium.
The loss dropped Auburn to 15-8 overall and 0-5 in Southeastern Conference games. LSU improved to 21-2 and 4-1.
"We kept the game close and that's what you have to do against good teams," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "I thought we gave ourselves plenty of opportunities, we just weren't able to come up with something. I was hoping someone could find a hole and we could score some runs but it didn't happen. These guys keep battling hard and hopefully tomorrow we will be able to get something going."
Michael O'Neal, who had started the season out with four straight wins, took the loss to drop to 4-2. The southpaw was charged for five runs (four earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out one to take a loss for the second straight week.
Ryan Eades improved to 5-0 in six starts for LSU, surrendering one run on seven hits and two walks while striking out four in 6 2/3 innings.
LSU went up 2-0 in the first when Mason Katz doubled in two runs.
Two innings later it was Raph Rhymes driving in a run with a single to make it 3-0 LSU.
A two-run fourth followed for LSU to extend the lead to 5-0 before Auburn was able to finally get to Eades in the fifth. Ryan Tella led off the inning with a double and scored on a Damek Tomscha single to make it 5-1.
Auburn would continue to get its chances off of Eades and the LSU bullpen, loading the bases in the sixth and eighth and putting a runner in scoring position in the seventh but coming up empty all three times. The Tigers went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Relievers Justin Camp and Rocky McCord combined to hold LSU off the board for four innings, limiting the home team to four hits and two walks during their time on the mound.
"We expect those guys to go out there and keep the game close and give us a chance to fight back," Pawlowski said. "I thought Rocky threw the ball as well as he has thrown it in a while. It looked like he had a lot of confidence and poise out there."
Cullen Wacker finished the night 2-for-3 with a walk and extended his hitting streak to a career-best nine games with a sixth-inning one-out single. Tella also had two hits in the loss, giving him seven multi-hit games this season. Hunter Kelley, making his first start in the field for Auburn, went 2-for-5 from the leadoff spot.
Alex Bregman had three hits for the second straight night for LSU while Mark Laird scored three of LSU's runs.
Auburn will try to salvage the final game of the series and avoid a second consecutive SEC sweep on Sunday at 1pm. Auburn will most likely start left-hander Will Kendall (0-0) while LSU has already announced it will start left-hander Cody Glenn (3-1). The game will air live on the Auburn Baseball Radio Network as well as on CST in Louisiana.
--Dan Froehlich, Auburn Media Relations