Alabama Baseball Lets It Get Away
Alabama (21-11, 6-7 SEC) was one strike away from ending the game before Mikie Mahtook reached on an error by shortstop Josh Rutledge to allow Micah Gibbs to score the tying run from third base. Gibbs had led off the inning with a double into the left field corner and was at third with two outs when Mahtook reached on the error.
Following the error, Alabama sophomore right-hander Nathan Kilcrease walked No. 9 hitter Tyler Hanover and Jared Mitchell followed with a go-ahead double to score Mahtook and Gibbs. Ryan Schimpf, who led LSU with four hits, capped off the inning with an RBI single to make it 8-5.
The Tide made two ninth-inning errors and four in the game, uncharacteristic of the league's third-best fielding team.
Nolan Cain (3-0) worked a scoreless eighth inning for the win, while Matty Ott pitched the ninth for his seventh save of the season.
Alabama sophomore right-hander Nathan Kilcrease (1-2), who worked out of a jam in the eighth, suffered the loss. He allowed four unearned runs and three hits in his second blown save of the year.
Alabama had taken a 5-2 lead in the seventh inning on junior first baseman Brandon May's three-run home run off Paul Bertuccini. Senior center fielder Alex Kubal led off the inning with a double into the right field corner and moved to third on Dugas' ground ball to short.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri turned to Bertuccini, who replaced starter Anthony Renaudo. Bertuccini walked Rutledge and sophomore second baseman Ross Wilson on nine pitches to load the bases with one out. That brought Kent Matthes, the nation's home run leader to the plate, and he drilled a 3-1 fastball to the warning track in left-center that easily scored Kubal with the tying run.
May then sent a 0-1 pitch over the wall in left field to give the Crimson Tide a 5-2 lead.. It was May's sixth home run of the season.
Renaudo allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, with six strikeouts and one walk. Bertuccini gave up three runs and two hits and recorded only two outs in relief stint.
The Tigers added two runs on four hits, including three straight two-out singles to pull to within 5-4 in the eighth. Leon Landry led off the inning with a single to center and scored on Kubal's three-base error. Jared Mitchell and Schimpf reached on back-to-back singles to chase UA starter Austin Hyatt.
Freshman left-hander Adam Morgan, making just his second relief appearance of the season, allowed an RBI infield hit to Blake Dean as the Tigers cut the lead to 5-4. Kilcrease then retired Ochinko as LSU left two runners on base.
LSU (25-8, 9-4 SEC) scored first with an unearned run in the top off the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. Mikie Mahtook reached on a leadoff single and then moved to third base on a stolen base and throwing error by Tide catcher Vin DiFazio. Tyler Hanover delivered a sacrifice fly to plate Mahtook with the Tigers first run.
The Tigers doubled their lead to 2-0 on Ryan Schimpf's two-out home run in the sixth inning. It was his eighth homer of the season.
The Crimson Tide got on the board with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to close the gap to 2-1. Junior first baseman Brandon May stroked a one-out double to right-center and moved to third on junior third baseman Jake Smith's infield hit that deflected off shortstop DJ LeMahieu's glove and rolled into the outfield. Junior DH Clay Jones reached on a fielder's choice to score May with UA's first run.
Alabama had 12 hits in the game, but stranded 10 base runners, including eight in scoring position. May, Kubal and Rutledge had two hits each for the Tide.
The Crimson Tide and Tigers will meet in game two of this SEC series on Saturday at 6:06 p.m. (CDT). The game will be televised by Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports South.
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