"You can't make errors against a good club and we did that today," said LSU head coach Smoke Laval. "We are going to just see how we react tomorrow."
LSU (11-2) watched its nine-game winning streak come to an abrupt end committing four errors against the Cougars. The rubber match of the weekend series is set for 1 p.m. today. The Tigers send senior right-hander Nate Bumstead (1-0, 4.15 ERA) to the hill while Houston calls on freshman right-hander Brad Lincoln (1-0, 4.00 ERA).
"He (Laval) said we kind of panicked out there a little bit," said LSU catcher Matt Liuzza. "He said he is going to see what we are made of and how we respond to a loss."
While the Tigers were not quite on their game, Houston's bats were blazing. The Cougars roughed up LSU junior Lane Mestepey chasing the veteran hurler with six runs (four earned) on nine hits in just three and two-thirds innings pitched.
"That is the best hitting team we have seen this year," Mestepey said. "I didn't have an out pitch. My curveball wasn't there. It was just a terrible day for me today."
The Cougars (5-8) wasted little getting on the board. In the top of the first, Cole Bruce took a Mestepey offering over the right field wall for a three-run home run.
"Mestey didn't lock it up," Laval said. "He is not quite there yet. We are just going to have to spoon feed him."
Things got worse for Mestepey (2-1) in the third when Houston designated hitter Brett Cooley hit the first of his two home runs making it a 4-0 game.
"He was up a little," Liuzza said. "He left a couple up and they swung the bats good today. They just
beat us though. They were the better team today."
Cooley provided the fatal blow for LSU's comeback chances in the seventh with a three-run shot off the Tigers' Greg Smith. LSU had closed the gap to 7-4 with two in the third and single runs in the fourth and fifth. But Cooley's shot made it a 10-4 game in the seventh and all but sealed the deal.
"It wasn't our day," Laval said. "We got hits, but there guys hit homers."
Offensively, the Tigers managed 13 hits, but Cougar pitching did a good job of scattering any offense LSU could muster. Liuzza maintained his hitting streak, now at 12 games, which ties a career-high. Blake Gill, Nick Stavinoha, Ivan Naccarata, Jon Zeringue and Derek Hebert all went 2-for-4, but the Tigers collected just five runs.