Information provided by LSU Athletics
BATON ROUGE, LA - Designated hitter Danny Zardon hit a walk-off single down the left field line Thursday night to score second baseman Jared Foster as top-ranked LSU defeated No. 2 Texas A&M, 4-3, in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU improved to 36-6 overall and moved into sole possession of first place in the SEC standings with a 13-5 league mark. Texas A&M dropped to 36-6 and 12-6.
The teams return to action on Friday for Game 2 at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on the SEC Network Alternate channel, and it can be heard on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network. Live audio and stats will be available at www.LSUsports.net.
In the bottom of the ninth, Foster singled to center with one out to put a runner on for the Tigers, and a wild pitch by reliever Andrew Vinson advanced Foster into scoring position. Zardon then bounced a single inside the third-base bag, giving LSU the win over the Aggies.
“It's a great example of what perseverance and determination can accomplish,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Danny Zardon has been in and out of our lineup this season, but he's always kept his head up and continued to work extremely hard. In fact, I thought he had his best batting practice session of the year yesterday in practice. His hit culminated a fantastic college baseball game; it was like two heavyweight fighters slugging it out and absorbing body blows, and fortunately we were able to earn the walk-off win.”
LSU's Collin Strall (3-0) earned the win for the Tigers, recording a strikeout in the top of the ninth to with the bases loaded and the Aggies threatening to take the lead. Vinson (3-1) was charged with the loss, allowing four hits and one run with one strikeout in two innings.
In the top of the first, Texas A&M's Nick Banks singled to right against LSU starter Jared Poche', scoring Blake Allemand to give the Aggies a 1-0 lead.
Catcher Michael Barash's RBI single in the second inning increased the Aggies' lead to 2-0.
LSU catcher Kade Scivicque singled to right in the fourth to put runners on first and second. Centerfielder Andrew Stevenson hit an RBI fielder's choice, scoring third baseman Conner Hale with the Tigers' first run. After Stevenson stole second, first baseman Chris Chinea tied the game for LSU with an RBI single through the left side.
In the bottom of the seventh, LSU leftfielder Jake Fraley stole third base to put runners on the corners. Rightfielder Mark Laird was safe on an RBI fielder's choice, bringing in Fraley as LSU grabbed a 3-2 lead.
The Aggies tied the game in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by third baseman Logan Nottebrook. After the Aggies drew a pair of walks to load the bases, Strall was called from the bullpen and struck out G.R. Hinsley for the third out.
Poche' pitched very effectively, limiting Texas A&M to two runs – one earned – on six hits in seven innings with no walks and one strikeout. Texas A&M starter Grayson Long pitched 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts.