Bama Drops First SEC Series

Saturday's game turned into a slugging contest, and Alabama was seriously out-manned. Five of LSU's eight runs came via the home run, as LSU overpowered the Crimson Tide 8-6, handing Alabama its fifth straight series loss in Baton Rouge.

Box Score

J.T. Wise hit the first pitch he saw from Bama reliever David Robertson over the left field wall. The three-run shot broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning and provided the winning margin. Robertson, who has struggled recently with control issues, took something off the first-pitch fastball to Wise.

"We were hoping to get ahead with a fastball, and it was my call," Tide Coach Jim Wells said. "It's a double-edged sword. You can throw 92 and you don't know where it's going and you can throw 82 and that happens. The good news is the ball is coming out of Robertson's hand better."

Kody Valverde hit a one-out solo shot in the ninth inning to draw Alabama within two runs, and Spencer Pennington drew a one-out walk to bring the potential tying run to the plate. But LSU reliever Chase Dardar retired pinch-hitter David Ferazza and Brandon Belcher in order to close out the game and pick up his fifth win of the season.

Solo home runs accounted for the first three runs scored in the game. Quinn Stewart, the SEC's leading home run hitter, belted his 15th of the year in the first inning, and Alabama's Greg Paiml answered with a solo homer in the top of the third to even the score. Paiml's home run was his second of the year and second in successive weekends.

Will Harris put LSU up 2-1 in the fifth with a solo shot of his own.

LSU swiped three runs in the sixth when Jarred Bogany hit a two-out pop fly in no-man's land behind second base, and center fielder Emeel Salem and second baseman Evan Bush collided going after the ball, resulting in a two-run triple for Bogany. He scored on Will Harris' double in the next at-bat giving LSU a 5-1 lead.

Bama strung together a four-run seventh inning, but failed to take advantage of a bases-loaded, one-out situation. Bama sent 10 men to the plate in the inning, picking up three hits, an LSU walk, hit batsman and fielding error to tie the game at 5-5. Spencer Pennington struck out with the bases loaded and pinch hitter Matt Bentley grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning stranding three men on base.

Bernard Robert pitched six innings for the Tide, giving up six runs and nine hits while issuing two walks. Robertson inherited a runner in the seventh, who scored on Wise's homer.

"You've got to feel like six runs is enough," Wells said. "Robert pitched pretty good, and he pitched differently because everyone was sitting on the change up. He threw his fastball much better today."

LSU picked up its second consecutive Southeastern Conference series win, improving to 6-8 in the league and 26-11 overall. First-place SEC Western Division Alabama dropped its first series of the season, falling to 9-5 in conference play and 26-12 overall.

Matt Downs continued an outstanding series at the plate, collecting four hits in four at-bats Saturday. Downs is 6 for 8 in the first two games of the series with four RBIs.

"I didn't play well Wednesday. I made an adjustment Thursday and everything is clicking now," Downs said. "We've got to try to get out with one game now. It's do or die tomorrow."

Valverde, Rhoden, Belcher and Paiml had two hits apiece in the game.

Alabama will try to avoid an LSU sweep at Alex Box Stadium in the series finale, set to start at 1 p.m.

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