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BATON ROUGE, La.  Auburn dropped the middle game at No. 20 LSU, 5-1, Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (31-23, 13-16 SEC) received the third longest start of the season from Jack Owen, but a four-run fourth inning was all LSU (34-21, 17-12 SEC) needed to secure the win.

“We just couldn’t get out of it, much like the fourth inning in game one,” head coach Butch Thompson said on the Auburn Sports Network. “I thought Jack really settled himself. He got us seven innings there. In this park, we knew we would have to score some runs, and we’ve had kind of a carbon copy offensively. We didn’t challenge enough tonight.”

Owen (4-2, 2.37) suffered the loss despite pitching 7.0 innings, marking his third start this season of that length or longer. Owen allowed four runs on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts. All four runs and five of his hits allowed came in the fourth inning.

Opposite Owen, LSU’s Landon Marceaux (4-2, 5.70) also pitched 7.0 innings and earned the win while Zack Hess picked up the save.

Owen faced just two over the minimum through three innings, but LSU got on the scoreboard with four runs in the fourth. A bases-loaded walk and wild pitch brought in the first two runs before back-to-back singles drove in two more. 

Will Holland accounted for Auburn’s scoring in the contest with a solo home run to start the fifth inning. It was Holland’s eighth home run of the season, including his fourth in the last eight games and sixth in the last 16 contests.

After allowing the four-run frame, Owen settled down to retire LSU in order in each of the next three innings thanks in part to a diving catch by Kason Howell in center to end the sixth. Aside from the trouble in the fourth, the sophomore lefty faced just 20 batters in his six other innings of work and retired 10 straight to end his outing.

Brooks Fuller entered in relief in the eighth inning and allowed one run on one walk and one hit to cap off the scoring in the contest.

The series finale between Auburn and LSU is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. CT at Alex Box Stadium and will be broadcast on SEC Network+.

George Nunnelley is a member of the Auburn University athletics staff.

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