BATON ROUGE, La. – Senior right-hander Ma’Khail Hilliard tossed 5.1 shutout innings with seven strikeouts, as No. 12 LSU defeated Auburn 9-2 Friday in game two of the SEC series inside Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

LSU improves to 19-8 on the season and moves to .500 in conference play heading into the rubber match at 4-4. Auburn falls to 18-9 on the season and 4-4 in the SEC.

The teams meet for the final game of the series Saturday at the Box for a 1:00 p.m. CT contest. The matchup is set to stream on SEC Network+ and can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates.

After a clean top of the first from Hilliard, who picked up his third win of the year, sophomore centerfielder Dylan Crews crushed a home run to right field. Crews’ seventh dinger of the season was the only run for either team before the LSU Tigers tacked on two more in the fifth.

To begin the inning, sophomore catcher Hayden Travinski poked a single through the left side with one out. Travinski would score on sophomore shortstop Cade Doughty’s ringing double to the left-centerfield gap to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. With Doughty on second and sophomore first baseman Tre’ Morgan on first base following a walk, Crews drove in his 31st RBI of the season with a single to left.

LSU led 3-0 heading into the latter third of the game following a scoreless sixth.

During his outing, Hilliard allowed no runs on four hits while giving up two walks and sitting down seven opponents on strikes.

Freshman reliever Grant Taylor, who came on in Hilliard’s stint with two men on base in the top of the sixth, collected two strikeouts in 1.1 innings pitched. Taylor would give way to junior right-hander Paul Gervase.

Auburn scored two runs in the seventh after a walk, single, wild pitch and sac fly. Auburn centerfielder Kason Howell brought the visiting Tigers within one after slapping a single through the right side.

Sophomore Eric Reyzelman came in for Gervase and toed the rubber with two outs, fanning shortstop Brody Moore to end the inning. Reyzelman threw 1.1 innings while giving up no runs on no hits and striking out three. Senior Trent Vietmeier closed out the game with a clean ninth inning, allowing no runs on one hit, while picking up one strikeout.

LSU’s 12-hit night was anchored by the seventh-inning five-run barrage. Travinski began the inning with a walk, which was followed by a Doughty single through the left side. Crews would reach on a fielder’s choice and sophomore third baseman Jacob Berry came through with a big double down the right-field line with two outs.

The remaining four runs the LSU scratched across in the inning also came with two outs. Auburn intentionally walked designated hitter Brayden Jobert to load the bases before Crews scored on a wild pitch. Sophomore shortstop Jordan Thompson laced a double down the left-field line, scoring Berry and Jobert, who advanced on the wild pitch. Senior left fielder Gavin Dugas drove in the final run of the inning with a bloop fly ball that found some grass in left-center and scored Thompson, giving the Tigers an 8-2 lead.

LSU extended its lead in the bottom of the eighth to seven with two singles, a groundout and a wild pitch.

(Recap via LSU Athletics)