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Tigers fall short of sweep

BATON ROUGE, La. - The Auburn offense was handcuffed for over eight innings by No. 21-ranked LSU starter Ben Alsup before breaking through for two runs in the ninth inning but it proved to be too little too late as the Tigers fell 3-2 at Alex Box Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Jon Luke Jacobs hard-luck loser at LSU.

Auburn (20-15, 7-8 SEC) finished the game with just six hits, with three of those coming in the ninth inning off of Alsup and LSU (23-14, 4-11 SEC) closer Matty Ott.

"We got some guys on base and we got it to where we were right in the game but unfortunately we just couldn't do it," Auburn coach John Pawlowski said. "I know the team is very disappointed today but to go on the road and win two out of three is a good step. I feel like we made some progress this weekend."

Despite the loss on Sunday Auburn was able to pick up a second consecutive series win over LSU, marking the first time since the 1992 and 1993 seasons that Auburn has won back-to-back series over LSU.

Auburn starter Jon Luke Jacobs (1-3) took the loss as he was charged for all three LSU runs on three hits and a career-high-tying six walks in five-plus innings, striking out four.

"Jon Luke is a guy that we have confidence in. We felt like his breaking ball, he didn't have great command of it today," Pawlowski said. "He got us deep into the game."

Alsup (5-3) threw 8 2/3 innings of shutout baseball before Auburn broke through for two runs on three hits and a hit batter in the ninth. Alsup hit Bobby Andrews (0-for-2, R) to start the inning and then allowed a one-out single to Casey McElroy (1-for-4, R). Dan Gamache flew out to center to put runners on the corners for Tony Caldwell (1-for-4). Caldwell lofted a ball into shallow right that appeared to be the final out of the game but LSU outfielder Mason Katz lost the ball in the sun, allowing Andrews and McElroy to score with Caldwell standing on first.

"(Alsup) threw the ball well. His slider was good. He just kept our guys off balance. We weren't able to barrel up any balls today. We didn't square anything up and consequently we just didn't have the opportunities that we would like to to score some runs," Pawlowski said.

Following Caldwell's hit LSU made the move to Ott, who allowed a pinch-hit single to Brooks Beisner, putting the potential tying run at second. A wild pitch from Ott put both runners in scoring position but he closed out his fifth save of the season by striking out Kevin Patterson (0-for-3).

Jacobs loaded the bases on three walks in the first inning but limited the damage to just a single run on an Austin Nola (0-for-3, RBI) sac fly. The three walks in the inning equaled what Jacobs had issued through his first 23 innings of work this season.

LSU went up 3-0 in the fifth when Raph Rhymes (2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI) delivered a two-out, two-run double to center following singles by Ty Ross (1-for-4) and Tyler Hanover (1-for-3).

Auburn returns home for the first of six straight home games beginning Tuesday at 6pm when it faces South Alabama at Plainsman Park. That will be followed by a Thursday-Saturday series against Ole Miss, with the first game airing live on ESPNU as part of the Thursday Night Baseball package.

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