LSU drops finale in extras but wins series

LSU dropped the finale against Mississippi State in extra innings, but the Tigers still won the series and should remain No. 1 in the country with two weekends left in the season.

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Third baseman Seth Heck’s RBI single Saturday in the bottom of the 12th inning lifted Mississippi State to an 8-7 victory over top-ranked LSU at Dudy Noble Field.

Mississippi State improved to 24-24 overall and 8-16 in SEC play. LSU, which has won 17 of its last 20 games, is 40-8 overall and 16-7 in conference action.

Saturday’s result marked only the Tigers’ second road loss of the season. LSU is 11-2 on the road this season, including a 9-2 mark in SEC road games. LSU had won nine straight SEC road games prior to Saturday.

The Tigers have played eight extra-inning games this season, posting a 4-4 mark in those contests. LSU erased a 7-4 deficit in the ninth inning Saturday, leading to another extra-inning encounter.

LSU begins a three-game SEC series with Missouri at 7 p.m. CT Friday in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

“It’s extremely difficult to sweep an SEC series, especially on the road, and I thought we competed very hard, especially in the ninth to keep the game going,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “That comeback was tremendous, and it demonstrated the resolve of our team. Unfortunately, we had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on, and we fell short today. We had won nine straight SEC road games until today, which is an amazing accomplishment. The loss doesn’t diminish the fact that we won our seventh SEC series in eight weekends, and we’re right where we want to be with two weeks to go in the regular season.”

With one out in the bottom of 12th, Mississippi State rightfielder Jake Vickerson doubled against LSU reliever Parker Bugg. Heck then singled up the middle to score Vickerson with the winning run.

Bugg (0-2) was brilliant in relief until the 12th, working a total 3.2 innings and allowing one run on three hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Mississippi State reliever Dakota Hudson (1-0) was credited with the win as he pitched a shutout inning with no hits and one strikeout.

Mississippi State scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning against LSU starter Austin Bain as designated hitter Reid Humphreys delivered a two-RBI double.

LSU first baseman Chris Chinea’s two-run homer in top of the second tied the game at 2-2. The dinger was Chinea’s seventh of the season.

LSU took the lead in the third when rightfielder Mark Laird singled, stole second base and scored on third baseman Conner Hale’s RBI double.

First baseman Wes Rea gave the Bulldogs a 4-3 in the fourth with a two-run single, but LSU tied the game in the fifth on catcher Kade Scivicque’s RBI double.

A solo homer in the bottom of the fifth by catcher Gavin Collins against LSU reliever Collin Strall put the Bulldogs back in front, 5-4.

The Bulldogs extended the lead to 7-4 in the eighth as pinch hitter Luke Reynolds and second baseman John Holland line RBI singles.

LSU, however, tied the game with three runs in the top of the ninth against reliever Ross Mitchell, who retired the first two Tiger hitters to start the frame. However, shortstop Alex Bregman singled and Heck misplayed Hale grounder at third to keep the inning alive.

Catcher Kade Scivicque singled to score Bregman, and after designated hitter Chris Sciambra walked, Mitchell was lifted for right-hander Zac Houston. Chinea greeted Houston with a two-run single to tie the contest at 7-7.

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