Errors plague LSU in opener

A series of miscues, both in the field and at the plate, spelled doom for the LSU baseball team Friday night. The Tigers (23-15, 6-10 SEC) committed four errors and stranded 10 runners in a 6-3 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs (26-12, 13-3 SEC).

"Our forte has been defense all year," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "It's just uncharacteristic of us to play such poor defense."

The problems began as early as the second inning for the Tigers when third baseman Michael Hollander over-threw first base on a routine play, allowing Georgia's Lyle Allen to advance to second base. Georgia's Michael Demperio then tripled to left field, scoring Allen for a 1-0 lead. Rich Poythress added a RBI double in the third inning for a 2-0 Bulldog lead.

Errors cost the Tigers again in the fifth inning when Matt Olson attempted to steal third, LSU catcher Micah Gibbs over-threw third base on the pickoff attempt. The error allowed Olson to score, and advanced Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham to third from first base. A RBI single scored Beckham for a 4-0 lead.

The Tigers' pitching staff performed well on a night when the lineup didn't register its first hit until the fourth inning.

Junior Blake Martin turned in five innings of work, allowing six hits, four runs and striking out four batters. Louis Coleman replaced Martin in the sixth inning, allowing six hits, two runs and also striking out four.

"Blake Martin pitched very well," Mainieri said. "He deserved better fate than he got, but it didn't happen."

The LSU offense finally awoke in the game's late stages.

In the seventh inning the Tigers gained runs from a bases-loaded walk of Taylor Davis and a RBI single by Sean Ochinko, cutting the score to 4-2.

"I was really proud of our guys," Mainieri said. "In the early part of the game we couldn't hit much but we kept battling up there at the plate and finally gave ourselves some chances."

Georgia responded immediately, due largely to more LSU errors.

With runners on first and third, Coleman fumbled a bunt before over-throwing the first baseman. Those two errors, both on the same play, allowed both base runners to score for a 6-2 Georgia lead.

Miscues by Georgia closer Joshua Fields gave the Tigers one last chance in the ninth inning.

With two outs and a 6-3 lead, Fields loaded the bases on two walks and a wild pitch. LSU shortstop DJ LeMahieu came to the plate as the potential winning run, but struck out swinging to end the game.

The Tigers will try to even the series Saturday at 3 p.m. at Alex Box Stadium.


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