Thursday night on the Bayou at Alex Box Stadium saw game one of the series between Tennessee and LSU. A thrilling matchup that many baseball fans have anticipated watching since last season. LSU came into the weekend series ranked number one in the country and had a massive opportunity on Thursday night to earn a top-ten win over the Volunteers of Tennessee. Likewise, Tennessee came into Thursday night of the series with LSU needing a win to pressure the Tigers into a corner for Friday and Saturday.
LSU and Tennessee were in a deadlock with no runs scored through four innings before the bats came alive for both in the 5th. First, in the top half of the fifth inning, a Christian Scott base hit for the Volunteers that brought Jared Dickey across the plate to give Tennessee a 1-0 lead over LSU. LSU would respond in the bottom half of the inning with Gavin Dugas hammering a two-run home run to give the Tigers an advantage of 2-1 heading to the 6th inning.
For Tennessee, another impressive outing from Chase Dollander, who went 4.1 innings pitched before giving up two runs in the bottom half of the 5th. Dollander finished the night with three strikeouts and four hits.
LSU had an impressive pitching outing from Paul Skenes, who went a full seven innings. Skenes gave up one run with twelve strikeouts on 107 pitches. Tennessee struggled to hit Skenes. LSU would bring Nate Ackenhausen during the top half of the 8th inning to secure the Thursday night win over the Volunteers. Ackenhausen would give up a base hit before a wild pitch would advance the Tennessee runner to third with one out in the 8th. Following the wild pitch, Ackenhausen would be pulled by LSU due to what seemed like an injury to the pitcher. Garret Edwards would be brought in with a runner on third and one out to try and get the Tigers out of the jam.
On a 3-2 pitch, Christian Moore would hit a base hit to centerfield, allowing Tennessee to tie the game at 2-2 in the top half of the 8th with one out. Tennessee would steal a base to make things interesting, but LSU would get the third Volunteers out, taking a tied game to the bottom half of the 8th inning. Due up for the LSU Tigers in the 8th would be the middle of the lineup, with Dylan Crews battling lead off for the Tigers. Dylan Crews would fly out. The following batter, Tommy White, would suffer the same fate leaving LSU with two outs in the bottom half of the 8th. Cade Beloso would give the Tigers some life with an infield base hit. Two more LSU Tigers would get on, creating an opportunity for Jordan Thompson with two outs and the bases loaded. Jordan Thompson would deliver a base-clearing double to push LSU to a 5-2 lead over Tennessee.
With a 5-2 lead heading to the 9th inning, LSU could sense a series-opening win over the visiting Tennessee Volunteers. Hunter Ensley would reach first on an error from Jordan Thompson of LSU. With Ensley on first, Dylan Dreiling would secure a base hit allowing Ensley to advance to third. Kavares Tears would strike out, leaving Tennessee with a final out to live out a prayer. Garrett Edwards would strike out Christian Scott to secure the series-opening win over Tennessee.
Game two of the series will be Friday night, with a first pitch at 6:00 with a national broadcast on the SEC Network.