OMAHA, Neb. — LSU picked a terrible time to play its worst game of the season.
The Tigers committed four errors in a 10-3 drubbing by TCU in each team’s first game of the College World Series. The Horned Frogs had a pair of four-run innings to put away the Tigers, who walked five batters, hit three and threw two wild pitches.
“Today was just a totally bad game for us,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “I don't know how else to describe it. It was just a total collapse for us on a big stage.”
This was LSU’s fourth worst defeat in a CWS game, the seven run deficit LSU’s biggest since a 15-4 loss to South Carolina in 2004. LSU has now lost six games in the CWS by six or more runs, and it was the seventh time LSU has given up double digit runs in a loss.
TD Ameritrade hasn’t been friendly to the Tigers. LSU’s been outscored 16-6 in three games at the new home to the CWS.
LSU’s now one loss away from elimination and will play for its life Tuesday at 2 p.m. against either Vanderbilt or Cal State-Fullerton.
“We just didn’t play our game,” said LSU DH Chris Sciambra. “We gave them some outs, and they took advantage of it. That’s not the recipe for winning in Omaha.”
LSU started strong against the Horned Frogs and nearly took a one-run lead in the third. Jake Fraley singled to center with Jared Foster at second. He tried to score on the play but was thrown out at the plate on a perfect throw by TCU CF Cody Jones and strong block by C Evan Skoug.
LSU unraveled after that play. Jared Poché threw three perfect innings to start the game but committed a pair of costly errors in the fourth. Poché made errant throws to first on consecutive dribblers back to the mound, which led to a pair of unearned runs.
“The momentum definitely shifted their way,” Poché said. “It was just two plays I should have made, and that's my fault. I should have been better than that.”
LSU answered back with a run in the bottom of the fourth, but TCU pulled away for good in the fifth. Poché walked two batters around a one-out single to load the bases. The first run of the inning scored on an error by Conner Hale, and Poché hit the next batter to bring in another.
Poché surrendered a two-run single to the final batter he faced in the game, exiting in a 6-1 hole.
“Those things happen when you give the other team some things,” Mainieri said. “As the game went on then he lost command, and that's very uncharacteristic of him. His tank ran a little bit dry as the game went on.”
The LSU bats went dry as well. After consecutive singles to start the fourth, LSU went 13 straight at-bats without a hit. LSU struck out five times and had just five hits against TCU starter Preston Morrison.
“He didn’t make many mistakes,” Sciambra said. “And when he did, we had a tough time capitalizing on it.”
That hitless streak didn’t end until a home run by Foster in the eighth. LSU got two runs that inning, but the game was well out of reach by then.
TCU had tacked on four more runs against the LSU bullpen in the seventh. Hunter Devall hit a batter with one out, and the runner took second on an errant pickoff attempt. He tried to steal third a few pitches later, and Kade Scivicque’s throw hit the runner and ricocheted into foul territory allowing the run to score.
TCU got three more on consecutive hits against Alden Cartwright to take a 10-1 lead on the Tigers.
LSU’s desperation comeback attempt in the late innings came up short, and the Tigers are one game from elimination.
“We know we're a much better team than what we demonstrated today,” Mainieri said. “But baseball can be a very humbling game…We've got to regroup now and win Tuesday, and after Tuesday, we'll reanalyze the situation.”
LSU hurts itself in 10-3 loss to TCU
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