Stetson rallies past LSU 9-8

The Tigers had a chance to earn their third series sweep this season, but could not close it out at the end as they let a win slip through their fingers.

Heading in to the ninth inning with an 8-5 lead, LSU self destructed, giving up four runs in the inning to hand the Tigers their first blown save since the 2003 College World Series against South Carolina.


The loss was the first for Smoke Laval in his career as a Tiger when leading after eight innings.  In the five years Laval has been the coach at LSU, he and the Tigers have gone 133-0 when having the lead in the ninth.


Despite this smear on his record, Laval was not too disappointed with this loss and the effort of his players.


"Dardar gave us three ground balls. He kicked one and the other two found holes," Laval said.  "I don't like to lose, but what are you going to try to fix up?"


As they did in the previous two games, the Hatters jumped on the board first.  With one out and a man on third in the second inning, Braedyn Pruitt hit a chopper to LSU first baseman J.T. Wise.  Wise stepped on first but could not make the throw home, allowing the advancing runner to give the Hatters a 1-0 lead.


Pruitt added to the lead again in the fourth inning.  Pruitt delivered a single to center field with men on first and second for his second RBI of the game and a 2-0 Stetson lead.


LSU finally scored runs in the fourth inning.  With men on second and third Nick Pontiff's single to center field tied the game at 2-2.  Pontiff later scored on a triple by Bruce Sprowl to give the Tigers a one run lead.


Stetson would answer in the fifth inning.  Shane Jordan scored when Sprowl mishandled a Brandon Paritz hit to center field.  Paritz would later come home on a hit to right field by Brian Pruitt to give Stetson the 4-3 lead.


The Tigers came back in the bottom of the inning.  After his breakout game on Saturday, Stewart hit his fourth home run of the series to left field, scoring two and putting LSU ahead 5-4.


The Tigers added to their lead in the seventh.  Following a walk by Stetson reliever Will Romanowicz, Chris McGee, pinch running for designated hitter Jordan Mayer, moved to second on a Liuzza ground ball.  McGee then proceeded to steal third, and score on a throwing error by catcher David Golliner.

After giving up back to back singles in the eighth inning, Farrer was replaced by Michael Bonura and was greeted by a standing ovation for his performance.


A wild pitch by Bonura and a walk to Nick Palmisano loaded the bases.  Pruitt recorded his third RBI of the day after his ground ball brought the score to 6-5.


Bonura avoided more damage by getting outfielder Ryan Tindle to pop up to Stewart in right field.

LSU increased its lead in the eighth inning when a single by short stop Michael Hollander to left field scored Sprowl from second.


Stewart was given the ultimate sign of respect by a pitcher by receiving the intentional walk from Romanowicz.


The Tigers put up another run in the inning as Liuzza was walked with bases loaded to increase the lead to 8-5.


As many of the 2,979 fans at Alex Box Stadium made their way to the exits believing the victory was in hand, Stetson turned up the heat.


Bonura was replaced by Chase Dardar after Olsen was hit by a Bonura pitch.  A walk, two singles and a double tied the game and eight and ended Bonura's game.


"[Dardar] got us ground balls and that's all you can ask of him," Liuzza said.


Ramirez gave up a single to give the Hatters a 9-8 lead.


Despite Pontiff's lead off walk, LSU was not able to move him past second base.


Dardar (2-1) was charged with the loss after giving up three runs, two earned, in the ninth.  Jake Hitchcock (1-0), who entered the game in the eighth inning, earned the win while Brett Murphy's ninth inning earned him his first save of the year.


Pontiff said following the game Laval told the players to keep their focus through all 27 outs.  Pontiff said with so many young guys on the team, it is easy to lose the concentration in the ninth inning of the third game.


"We've got to keep going.  We've got to learn to focus on Sundays," Pontiff said.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories