It didn’t take long for the No. 7 LSU baseball squad to jump on Auburn in the series finale Sunday as the Tigers from Baton Rouge completed the series sweep in an 8-2 victory in Alex Box Stadium.
“It was a good overall victory, and I’m glad to get the sweep,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I told the guys yesterday, ‘If you really want to play for a championship in this league, then these are the games we have to win.’ These Sunday games [are crucial] when you have the first two in hand, and we went out there and got the job done.”
The scoring barrage began in the first inning for LSU (22-2, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) as it put up two early runs after senior left fielder Raph Rhymes hit an RBI groundout and junior second baseman JaCoby Jones walked with the bases loaded.
But LSU wasn’t finished at the plate.
Freshman designated hitter Chris Chinea followed up with a two-RBI single to right field to break the game open against Auburn (15-10, 0-6 SEC). In the bottom of the second inning, a Rhymes RBI single and a wild pitch that scored freshman shortstop Alex Bregman, who has had four three-hit games in a row, gave the Tigers a 6-1 lead, and they wouldn’t look back.
“I knew it was going to be a big situation with me coming in, and I just needed to find a pitch I could drive, and I got the pitch and got the job done,” Chinea said. “Any at-bat you can get, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
While the LSU hitters thrived at the plate, sophomore southpaw Cody Glenn (4-1) dominated on the mound.
After a slow start that resulted in a run for Auburn, Glenn found his groove, inducing double-play balls and escaping jams over seven-and-two-thirds innings of work. He surrendered two runs on six hits and struck out two before being relieved by junior right-hander Will LaMarche with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. Glenn’s stint on the mound was the longest by any LSU starter so far in the 2013 campaign.
“It’s no secret what [Glenn] has to do to be successful,” Mainieri said. “He’s got to pitch down in the zone, and he’s got to let his sinker work, but he’s got to throw it over the plate for a strike. He made some good pitches, and I think he kind of got his confidence up when we turned those double plays.”
Glenn recovered nicely Sunday after suffering his first loss of the season a weekend prior against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs tagged Glenn for six runs on six hits in only three-and-one-third innings of work.
“It feels really good [to beat Auburn],” Glenn said. “All week, I had a bad taste in my mouth, and this is what I needed to get it out. I felt a lot more comfortable on the mound [on Sunday]. After the first two innings, I was able to settle in and trust my pitches and throw them with confidence and get ground balls, which is what I want to do.”
The sweep came after LSU won Friday’s contest 9-4 and Saturday’s game 5-1.