TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama senior right-hander Sam Finnerty fired six shutout innings Friday night to lead the Crimson Tide to a 6-1 win over ninth-ranked LSU at Sewell-Thomas Stadium
Alabama improved to 26-17 overall, 5-14 in the SEC, while LSU dropped to 27-16 overall and 11-8 in the league.
The teams will meet in Game 2 of the series at 2 p.m. CT Saturday in a contest that may be heard on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network and viewed online via SEC Network +.
Finnerty (6-5) blanked the Tigers through six innings, allowing five hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Alabama relievers Chase Lee and Brock Guffey limited LSU to one run over the final three innings.
LSU right-hander Zack Hess (2-3) was charged with the loss, as he gave up five runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings with one walk and five strikeouts.
“Finnerty has pitched well against us for what seems like four years now,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “He’s a good pitcher, and we needed to keep the game close, but we dug ourselves a hole early in the game. We’ve got to get better at the plate and be more aggressive. We’ll look forward to the opportunity to even the series on Saturday.”
Alabama collected 10 hits and was led at the plate by catcher Brett Auerbach, who was 4-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored.
Alabama grabbed a 2-0 lead against Hess in the bottom of the first inning with solo homers by leftfielder T.J. Reeves and by rightfielder Tyler Gentry.
The Crimson Tide increased the advantage to 3-0 in the second when catcher Brett Auerbach doubled, advanced to third on a bunt single by centerfielder Joe Breaux and scored on third baseman John Trousdale’s sacrifice fly.
Auerbach lined an RBI single in the third, extending the Crimson Tide lead to 4-0. Alabama added a run in the fifth when second baseman Morgan McCullough led off with a single and later scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Breaux.
Auerbach’s RBI double in the seventh against LSU reliever Ma’Khail Hilliard gave the Tide a six-run advantage. Hilliard worked three effective relief innings, allowing one run on one hit with one walk and four strikeouts.
LSU avoided the shutout in the ninth inning on a pinch-hit, run-scoring double by Drew Bianco.