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March 22, 2013

Homers doom the Tigers


BATON ROUGE, La. | Daniel Koger surrendered a pair of early home runs and the Auburn baseball team could never recover from the deficit as it fell 9-4 at No. 3 LSU on Friday night.

The loss dropped Auburn to 15-7 overall and 0-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

"Offensively we had 12 hits on the board and we put ourselves in position where maybe one more swing here or there would make it an interesting game," Auburn Head Coach John Pawlowski said. "It's tough. They jumped up early, we got back in it at 3-2 but they put another big swing on it. Two big swings and they score five runs and that's tough to overcome and we couldn't do that tonight."

For the second straight outing, Koger (0-2) was undone by the long ball, surrendering a three-run home run to Raph Rhymes in the first inning that put Auburn behind, 3-0, and then allowing a two-run shot to Mason Katz in the third that made it 5-2 LSU. Koger would last just 3 1/3 innings, allowing the five runs on five hits and three walks without recording a strike out.

LSU starter Aaron Nola (3-0) worked 6 2/3 innings, surrendering nine hits and a walk but striking out nine.

Auburn's first run came on a two-out RBI single by Blake Austin, which scored Damek Tomscha following his double, to make it 3-1 in the second.

Auburn got to Nola again in the third when Jordan Ebert led off with a walk, stole second and scored on a Garrett Cooper RBI double down the line in right to cut the lead to 3-2 before Katz's 10th blast of the year gave LSU the three-run cushion again.

Auburn would put LSU on its heels in the eighth as it loaded the bases off of relievers Brent Bonvillain and Nick Rumbelow, with Rumbelow walking in a run, but Joey Bourgeois came in to get the final two outs of the inning to keep it a 7-3. LSU then answered Auburn's mini rally with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning off of Reid Carter for the final margin.

Tomscha finished the game with a career-high three hits while Jordan Ebert and Dan Glevenyak each had two as Auburn out-hit LSU 12-10.

Alex Bregman led LSU with three hits while Rhymes and Katz each had three RBIs.

Auburn reliever Jay Wade, who was touched for two runs on two hits and three walks, was taken to the hospital for x-rays on his right ankle after twisting it on a Christian Ibarra two-run single back up the middle in the fifth that made it 7-2.

Auburn will try to even the series on Saturday night when it sends left-hander Michael O'Neal (4-1) to the mound. LSU will counter with Ryan Eades (4-0) as it attempts to snap Auburn's three series winning streak.

--Dan Froehlich, Auburn Media Relations

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