LSU drops rubber match to No. 1 Miss. State

Sunday's game appeared to resemble Saturday's comeback victory for the Tigers, but LSU came up one run short as they lost the series rubber match to Mississippi State 7-6 in 10 innings.

The 4,505 fans in attendance were treated to LSU's first extra inning game at Alex Box Stadium this season.  The ending, however, was not what most fans hoped for.

 

The Tigers closed a four run gap in the middle of the game, but costly errors prevented LSU from keeping their momentum through the end. 

 

"It hurts. We fought back as hard as we could and just couldn't pull in out in the end," J. T. Wise said. "It was a back breaker for us, but we still competed as best we could."

 

LSU coach Smoke Laval said the difference in the game was timely hitting and base running errors.

 

"We just ran ourselves into a hole. We left runners on the bases the whole time," Laval said. "That just took the momentum away and it's hard to get that back. It just takes the wind right out of your sails, just a lack of focus."

 

The Tigers and Bulldogs combined for seven errors in the game.

 

LSU drew first blood as Quinn Stewart capitalized on errors by Bulldog third baseman Michael Rutledge and second baseman Jefferey Rea.

 

Mississippi State would answer back in the third inning with an RBI single by Thomas Berkley and take the lead on Mitch Moreland's two run home run the very next batter.

 

The Bulldogs extended their lead in the fourth inning as Michael Rutledge came home on Jarred Bogany's third error in two games.  A single by Jefferey Rea gave Mississippi State a 5-1 lead.

 

LSU's starter Derik Olvey was pulled after 3.1 innings.  He gave up five runs on six hits and walked three batters.

 

Louis Coleman, trying to make his argument to be a weekend starter, avoided more trouble in the inning by striking out two Bulldogs with the bases loaded.

 

LSU would get one back in the bottom of the inning as Michael Hollander's single brought home Wise from third base.

 

Again, the Bulldogs answered with another run in the fifth inning when Brian LaNinfa blasted a one run home run.

 

But the Tigers would not give up.

 

Wise started off the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run.  Stewart then followed him with one of his own.

 

Lalor walked Hollander and a single by Steven Waguespack put runners on first and second with no outs.  Matt Liuzza bunted the two runners to second and third and Jordan Mayer punched them home with a single to right field, tying the game at 6-6.

 

Pitching controlled the rest of the game.  After settling in, Coleman kept the Bulldogs scoreless for four straight innings, while Chad Crosswhite held the Tiger bats at bay after giving up one run in the sixth.

 

LSU had a chance to end the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with a pair of two out singles, but Stewart hit a pop foul to the first baseman, forcing the game into extra innings.

 

Following the game, Stewart placed much of the blame for the loss on his shoulders.

 

"We got the guys on and I just didn't get the hit when we needed it," Stewart said.

 

With a man on first, Chase Dardar replaced Coleman in the tenth inning.  He faced three batters in the inning, giving up a single, a fielder's choice, and hitting a batter to load the bases.

 

Will Harris moved from third base to the pitcher's mound where he gave up a sacrifice fly to Berkery to put Mississippi State up by one run.

 

Bulldog closer Justin Pigott (1-0) earned the win by getting the Tigers to hit a roller to the pitcher, strike out, and pop out to end the game.

 

Coleman (2-2) was credited with the loss in his 5.2 dominant innings of work.  Coleman gave up just two runs on four hits, but the single in the tenth inning cost him the game.

 

Even with the loss, the Tigers can find some positive areas in the game.  For the second straight day, LSU overcame a large deficit.

 

Wise said his teammates battling back from behind shows a lot about the character of the team.

 

"We get down 5-1 early and we all just stick together with each other and battle back.  We fought back, tied it up and though t we were going to get it in the bottom of the ninth," Wise said. "We can't win them all. We just beat and that's it."


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