A squeeze bunt by Alabama’s Tyler Odle in the top of the 11th gave the Crimson Tide (17-14, 5-6 SEC) the go-ahead run. LSU (19-11) couldn’t capitalize with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th, as the Tigers dropped to 4-7 in SEC play.
The teams meet in the series final at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Tigers defeated the Crimson Tide, 3-0, earlier Saturday in the completion of a suspended game behind stellar pitching by Blake Martin, Jared Bradford and Daniel Bradshaw.
“It was a long day,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “This was a great ballgame. Both teams were playing hard, and both teams wanted to win very badly. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the hit at the end of the game when we needed it.”
The Tigers struck first at the plate when Derek Helenihi scored in the first off a DJ LeMahieu single to left field.
LSU starter Jordan Brown gave up three runs on two hits in the second inning. However, the Tigers responded at the plate. Leon Landry doubled down the right field line and came home on a Micah Gibbs single after advancing to third on a passed ball. Gibbs moved to second on a Johnny Dishon grounder, and then advanced to third and home on consecutive wild pitches to tie the game at 3-3.
Johnny Dishon, who had hit his first career home run in Game 1, tripled off the top of the right field wall in the bottom of the fourth. He came home on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Schimpf, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead.
Brown was marvelous again in the fifth, retiring three straight Alabama batters. However, he found himself in trouble in the sixth. The junior college transfer walked Alex Avila before giving up a double to Brandon May. He then struck out Ross Wilson before Jake Smith hit a sharp grounder to shortstop. LeMahieu chose to throw Smith out at first, allowing Avila to tie the game and May to advance to third. Mike Sharp brought home May on a single to take the lead. Brown gave up a final hit before the inning ended.
With two pitchers in the bullpen, Brown stepped to the mound again in the seventh. He walked Tyler Odle before he was relieved by Shane Ardoin. In six innings, Brown struck out seven while giving up three earned runs.
Ardoin forced Avila to line out to Clark, who was able to double up Odle. Ardoin struck out May to end the seventh.
Schimpf walked in the seventh before Helenihi hit a shot that hit the top of Wilson’s glove at second base before dropping into center field. Dean very nearly hit a three run home run, but the ball was caught at the wall by May. Clark worked a full count before walking to load the bases for LeMahieu. He walked, bringing in the tying run. Rene Escobar grounded out to second, stranding three runners.
Bradshaw, who earned his third save of the season in Game 1, came on in relief in the eighth. He retired the side in the inning.
Gibbs hit a double up the left field line to open the bottom of the eighth. He was replaced on the base paths by Chris McGhee. Schimpf reached base on a walk with two outs. However, Helenihi lined out to first base to end the inning.
Sharp reached base on an infield hit in the top of the ninth and moved to second on a Kubal sacrifice bunt. Bradshaw plunked Josh Rutledge in the back to put him on base, and Odle walked to load the bases. However, Bradshaw forced Avila to ground into an inning-ending double play.
After a Dean groundout, Clark walked to put the winning run on the base paths for the Tigers. He was replaced by Jared Mitchell, who caught a touchdown as a wide receiver in the spring football game earlier in the day. Helenihi showed patience at the plate, walking for the second time in the game. However, Escobar grounded into a double play to end the Tigers’ threat and send the game to extra innings.
Bradshaw retired the first two batters of the tenth, before Wilson hit a slow chopper towards third. Helenihi’s throw to Buzzy Haydel at first was off target, allowing Wilson to reach third. Wilson was left stranded when Smith grounded out to first.
Kubal knocked a base hit up the middle in the top of the eleventh and reached third on a hit and run. Odle laid down a squeeze bunt directly in front of the batter’s box that brought Kubal home for the go-ahead run.
Bradshaw (1-3) was charged with loss, pitching four innings and striking out two. Alabama reliever Josh Copeland (2-1) earned the victory, limiting the Tigers to no runs on two hits in 4.1 innings with six walks and five strikeouts.