LSU, Georgia run out of time

Sunday's series finale between LSU and Georgia didn't have a winner or loser. The teams battled for 13 innings and more than four hours, but the final result was a 2-2 tie.

It wasn't a loss, but it sure felt like one.

SEC travel regulations forced a premature end to LSU's series finale with Georgia on Sunday, resulting in a 2-2 tie. The game went 13 innings before the 3:45 p.m. curfew went into effect, and the previous four hours, one minute wasn't long enough to decide a winner.

LSU still took the series, which is an accomplishment in itself. But considering the sullen faces of the LSU players and coaches, the postgame atmosphere seemed more like a College World Series elimination game.

"It's like kissing your sister," Alex Bregman said. "It's not that cool."

Most of that frustration stems from missed opportunities, none bigger than the Tigers' chance to win it in the 13th and final inning.

LSU loaded the bases on a hit-by-pitch and two intentional walks with one out. Dakota Dean, who'd only appeared in eight games prior to Sunday's, served as the game-winning run 90-feet away. Sean McMullen tagged a liner to left field that was caught.

Third base coach Will Davis told Dean to tag, but the freshman misunderstood the instructions and held at the bag. Jake Fraley popped out in the next at-bat to end the game in LSU's first tie in almost six years.

"[Dean] was supposed to go," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "The kid misunderstood what Will had told him. He told him ‘Go,' and he thought he said ‘No,' so he didn't go…But it's not supposed to be a verbal communication, it's a visual communication. Dakota Dean hasn't played very much so the situation was just a little bit big for him."

That wasn't LSU's only chance either. Christian Ibarra was thrown out at home in the 12th trying to score from second on a fielding error by the shortstop. The Tigers also stranded the bases loaded in the 10th as UGA CF Stephen Wrenn made an inning-ending diving catch.

Altogether the Tigers went just 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and that's a statistic that prevented LSU from finding any solace in the tie.

"In the future, we're going to come through in those situations," Bregman said. "We fought hard, competed all day. But we just need to finish off some ballgames."

LSU was fortunate to even have a chance to win it in extra innings. The Tigers faced a 2-1 deficit entering the seventh inning. Kramer Robertson and Mark Laird each walked to start the frame, bringing up Bregman, who was in the midst of a 2-for-25 slump.

He came through though, delivering the game-tying run with a single to right-center field.

"It was nice just executing the approach," Bregman said. "The guys in front of me got on and did their job, and I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on it."

But even that inning resulted in another missed opportunity. After Bregman's hit, LSU had runners on the corners with nobody out. Sean McMullen drilled a grounder to the first baseman, who turned the double play, but Laird froze at third and couldn't come in for the go-ahead run. Fraley ground out after that to end the inning.

"This isn't much better than a loss," Laird said. "We had opportunities to drive runners in, and we didn't. We got 11 hits, and we should've produced more runs than we did."

LSU fell behind early as Kurt McCune, starting in place of an injured Kyle Bouman, surrendered a pair of runs in the first inning. Georgia's first three batters each recorded hits, two of which for extra bases including an RBI-double by Hunter Cole.

The Bulldogs added one more in the next at-bat with a groundout to shortstop.

Zac Person and the LSU bullpen were dominant, but it wasn't enough to get the win
"He gave up two runs and kept us from being able to win the game," Mainieri said. "We only scored two, so obviously to win the game we would've had to hold them to one run or less, and we weren't able to do that."

McCune exited after only 1 2/3 innings, giving way to a LSU bullpen that was dominant the rest of the way.

Henri Faucheux replaced McCune and didn't allow a hit in a career-long 3 1/3 innings. He gave way to Parker Bugg, who also turned in his longest outing as a Tiger, tossing four scoreless frames with two hits and two strikeouts.

Joe Broussard, who appeared in each of the previous two games, walked a pair in a short outing, but Zac Person replaced him and struck out three in 2 1/3 scoreless innings on only one hit.

Nate Fury also contributed a scoreless inning in the 13th.

"I'm very proud of the bullpen, really it was just amazing," Mainieri said. "Just one guy after another went out there and competed their heart out. It's unbelievable the job Alan Dunn does with those guys."

LSU has a quick turnaround as they hit the road Tuesday against Tulane before starting a three-game series against Florida in Gainesville next weekend.

The Tigers will be limited in who can pitch against the Green Wave. Bouman and Cartwright will both be out, as will Faucheux, Bugg, Broussard and Person after their extended work this weekend.

But the taste of tying will be one that takes a while to wash out of the Tigers' mouths.

"This was a game we should've won," Mainieri said. "We'll turn the page tomorrow at practice and get ready for Tulane. We can't do anything about it now."


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