Tigers fall in ninth

A seven-run rally was not enough to get the win Saturday as LSU (23-16, 6-11 SEC) fell to Georgia (27-12, 14-3, SEC) 9-8.

The comeback began largely as a result of Georgia pitching problems. Georgia pitcher Stephen Dodson held the LSU offense in check for seven innings, helping the Bulldogs to a commanding 8-1 lead. Georgia sophomore Justin Earls replaced Dodson in the eighth inning, and that lead evaporated. Earls walked four and allowed three hits.

With the bases loaded, LSU's Sean Ochinko scored Blake Dean on a sacrifice fly, and catcher Micah Gibbs scored Derek Helenihi on a base hit. With the crowd at Alex Box suddenly awake, designated hitter Taylor Davis tripled to left field, scoring two more to cut the lead to 8-5.

Two more walks loaded the bases again, and the Box was roaring.

Senior third baseman Michael Hollander came to the plate and belted a triple down the first base line, tying the score.

Jared Bradford entered the game in the ninth to hold the Bulldogs and to try and even the series.

Matt Cerione, however, reached first base after the ball bounced off the tip of Bradford's glove. A Ryan Peisel single scored Cerione from second base and Georgia took a 9-8 lead they would not relinquish.

"The ball bounces off the tip of the pitcher's glove, a bunt, and another off the end of the bat that doesn't even leave the infield," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "And we lose. How do you explain something like that? The kids showed great courage and resolve … we just deserved a better fate there."

Gordon Beckham showed the crowd why he is one of the nation's top players, putting on a clinic in the game's early innings. His first at bat was a solo home run that landed just over the left field wall.

The Bulldogs shortstop improved on that in the fifth inning.

With a man on first, Beckham crushed his first pitch deep into the left field stands, giving Georgia a 5-0 lead. He was 2-2 for two home runs and 3 RBI, and was walked twice. It was his fifth game of the year with two home runs, and he leads the nation with 19 on the season.

Similar to Friday night's game, errors hindered the Tigers all day.

LSU fielders committed four errors in addition to four from Friday night. Two balls bounced off Hollander's glove, saving runners who would eventually score. An error by shortstop DJ LeMahieu allowed Georgia third baseman Ryan Paisel to score in the eighth inning.

"In the two biggest games of the year we don't make the plays we need to make in the infield," Mainieri said. "I'm sure the kids are trying their best. I wish I had an explanation."

Junior pitcher Jordan Brown got the start for LSU and pitched five innings, allowing five runs on five hits and striking out five batters.

Freshman Austin Ross replaced Brown in the sixth inning, allowing four hits forcing Mainieri to go to Nolan Cain, Ryan Byrd, Paul Bertuccini and Bradford in relief.

Bradford got the loss, falling to 6-4 on the season while Dean Weaver got the win for the Bulldogs.

The Tigers will try to avoid the sweep tomorrow at 12 p.m. at Alex Box.

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