Dawgs end weekend with tie at LSU

BATON ROUGE - Seventh-ranked Georgia erased a seven-run deficit and battled LSU to a 10-10 tie in 12 innings Sunday in front of 2,712 fans at Alex Box Stadium. Then the Bulldogs rushed to the airport and flew home in their uniforms. Due to the SEC travel curfew rule, no inning could start after 4 p.m, and thus the game ended in a tie at 4:11 p.m. CT.

After trailing 10-3 going to the seventh, the Bulldogs (27-12-1, 14-3-1 SEC) eventually rallied back to tie the contest in the ninth inning while the Georgia bullpen combined to toss six scoreless innings against the Tigers (23-16-1, 6-11-1 SEC) who were trying to avoid a Bulldog sweep. Georgia has won 10 straight SEC games and were going for their third consecutive sweep. Bulldog senior All-America closer Joshua Fields pitched the final two frames as he has not allowed a run this season, a span of 20.2 innings. LSU got two scoreless innings from Ryan Verdugo to keep it 10-10.

"It was a great comeback by the team, and a great tie," said Georgia coach David Perno. "It was a tremendous effort to rally back like that and then for the bullpen to give us a chance, Justin Grimm, Alex McRee and Joshua Fields were outstanding. Robbie (O'Bryan) gave us a big boost off the bench, what a huge home run he got for the first of his career, and then Miles (Starr) has to go in and play center, we've created some depth today too."

LSU grabbed its first lead of the series when freshman centerfielder Leon Landry drilled a two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the second. The Tigers maintained their 2-0 lead when Jared Bradford pitched out of trouble in the top of the third. Georgia seniors Ryan Peisel and Matt Olson notched one-out singles, and with runners at the corners, Bradford struck out Gordon Beckham and got Rich Poythress to ground out to third. After allowing a fly ball that was ruled a home run to Michael Hollander, Moreau was lifted in favor of senior Nick Montgomery. Moreau surrendered three runs on three hits through the first two frames.

The Tigers greeted Montgomery with three straight hits culminating in a two-run home run by Blake Dean, his eighth of the year, which gave an LSU a 5-0 edge. Georgia pushed across a run in the fifth to close the gap to 5-1. Matt Cerione led off with a base hit, collected his sixth stolen base, moved to third on a bunt attempt by Peisel and scored on a base hit by Olson. However, the Tigers answered with two runs on four hits in their half of the fifth, ending Montgomery's outing. He gave up four runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings as Georgia brought in sophomore Steve Esmonde. The Bulldog right-hander extinguished the Tiger outburst, retiring the next three hitters but LSU was back in front 7-1. The Bulldog cut it to 7-3 in the sixth. After a pinch-hit single by Robbie O'Bryan put runners at the corners, freshman pinch-hitter Lyle Allen delivered a pinch-hit two-run double. The Tigers again answered with three runs on four hits to build its lead back to 10-3 off Esmonde and freshman Justin Grimm.

Then, Georgia responded with a four-run outburst in the seventh, chasing Bradford. He gave the Tigers 6.1 innings and allowed seven runs on 10 hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Poythress lined a two-run single and Allen notched another RBI plus one more run scored on a Tiger throwing error as the Bulldogs closed the deficit back to three at 10-7. Grimm retired the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh including a pair of strikeouts.

In the eighth, Olson crushed his fifth home run of the year, a solo shot that got the Bulldogs to within two at 10-8. Grimm was a bright spot for the Bulldog bullpen as he retired the last eight Tigers he faced. In 2.2 innings, he allowed one run on two hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

In the top of the ninth, O'Bryan tied the game with his first career home run, a two-run shot off Daniel Bradshaw. Jake Crane was on board after getting hit by a pitch with one out. In the bottom of the frame, the Bulldogs turned it over to sophomore left-hander Alex McRee. The score remained deadlocked at 10 going to the 12th which due to the SEC travel rule was announced as the final inning that would be played. McRee tossed two scoreless inning and then Fields came on in the 11th. Cerione was ejected in the top of the 11th after striking out and Miles Starr made his debut in centerfield and ended up recording three putouts.

Georgia will be back in action Tuesday when it plays host to Kennesaw State. First pitch at Foley Field will be at 5 p.m.

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