A big setback

Despite homers by Blake Dean and Mikie Mahtook, No.1 LSU could not erase a nine-run deficit as the Tigers fell to Tennessee 9-4 Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (28-12, 11-7) lost their first SEC series since April of 2008 when they dropped two of three to Georgia. LSU’s streak of nine consecutive SEC series wins in the current 30-game league format stands tied for most all-time in the conference with Vanderbilt, who accomplished the same feat in 2007-08.

 

“It’s something I’m really proud of,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said about the streak. “It shows consistency, resiliency and the ability to perform under pressure, but at the same time today we didn’t do any of those things.

 

“We just dug ourselves a hole today and it was an enormous task trying to get out of it.”

 

Sunday’s game was played before a crowd of 5,965 fans, allowing LSU to set a school record for actual attendance in a regular season. LSU’s actual attendance figure through 28 home games this season is 155,866, surpassing the previous school mark of 154,476 (34 regular-season games) set in 2000.

 

With the win, Tennessee moved to 19-22 overall and 5-13 in the conference. The winning pitcher was Ty’Relle Harris, who pitched 6.2 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out seven and walking none.

 

LSU starter Austin Ross (4-5) was charged with the loss as he allowed six runs on six hits in two innings with no walks and no strikeouts.

 

Tennessee took a 1-0 lead early in the first inning when centerfielder Kentrail Davis doubled to left center, scoring shortstop Zach Osborne, who singled to lead off the game. Davis advanced to third on a groundout by Cody Hawn and scored on a wild pitch by Ross to make the score 2-0.

 

The Vols continued the scoring in the second when they took a 3-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by second baseman Cody Grisham.

 

In the third, Tennessee got on the board again with three runs which prompted Mainieri to pull the plug on Ross.

 

Reliever Daniel Bradshaw came in and closed out the third when he struck out Tyler Horne and got Grisham to fly out to end the inning.


The Vols added three more in the fourth off a pair of homers that stretched the lead to 9-0.

 

The Tigers finally got on the board in the fifth when Leon Landry doubled and scored on a single by Tyler Hanover to make the score 9-1.

 

LSU cut the margin to 9-2 when Dean launched his sixth homer of the year, a solo shot over the right field wall. The homer extended Dean’s hitting streak to nine games.

 

The Tigers cut the deficit to 9-4 when Mahtook blasted a two-run homer in the seventh for his fourth dinger of the year.

 

LSU reliever Nolan Cain had a great outing, throwing 4.2 innings and allowing no runs and only two hits, while notching a career-high seven strike outs.

 

The Tigers are back in action Tuesday night when they play host to Southeastern Louisiana. The first pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium.


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