LSU baseball easily dispatches South Carolina to advance at SEC Tournament
HOOVER, Ala. – LSU baseball is staying in the winners bracket.
The No. 3 seed Tigers dominated No. 6 seed South Carolina in the second round of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday, winning 10-3 to advance to the third round.
The Tigers (43-13) took an early 2-0 lead but didn't take a commanding advantage until the fifth and sixth innings, scoring six runs across those six outs. Starting pitcher Thatcher Hurd also maintained a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and reliever Nate Ackenhausen allowed just a hit in 3⅔ innings pitched.
LSU will face the winner of No. 2 seed Arkansas vs. No. 10 seed Texas A&M on Thursday (4:30 p.m., SEC Network).
Thatcher Hurd steps up
Hurd was a savior for LSU on Wednesday.
The UCLA transfer surrendered three earned runs in 5⅓ innings pitched, allowing just four hits and striking out four batters.
He gave up a home run in the fifth and loaded the bases as he exited in the sixth after throwing a season-high 100 pitches. But it was still the second consecutive promising performance from the righty after he allowed just two earned runs in five innings in relief last Thursday against Georgia.
A productive fifth inning
LSU has struggled with driving in runners in scoring position lately.
The Tigers were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Saturday against Georgia and 2-for-10 in those situations on Thursday, despite winning.
But LSU reversed that trend in the fifth inning on Wednesday, loading up the bases with nobody out and scoring four runs to stretch its lead from one to five.
The insurance was much-needed as South Carolina had cut LSU's two-run lead in half in the top of the fifth on a solo home run from Ethan Petry.
HOOVER SCHEDULE:Here's the 2023 SEC Baseball Tournament schedule for Hoover
DYLAN'S DOMINICAN TRIP:How trips to the Dominican Republic and Cooperstown helped shape LSU star Dylan Crews
LSU TAKES DOWN GEORGIA:Thatcher Hurd, Hayden Travinski step up in LSU baseball's series win over Georgia
Brayden Jobert has been one of LSU's most improved hitters this season.
The veteran has raised his batting average and on-base percentage by over 50 points compared to last season. He continued his stellar play Wednesday, blasting a two-run home run in the second inning to give LSU the first lead of the game.
Jobert finished his day going 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. He entered Wednesday's contest with a .935 on-base plus slugging percentage against SEC competition.
Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.