Despite a five-run seventh inning, No.1 LSU could not overcome an eight-run deficit as the Tigers fell to Kansas, 11-9, Friday night in Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (12-1) dropped their first regular-season home game since losing to Florida on May 10, 2009, breaking their previous streak of 18 consecutive regular-season home wins. Kansas improved to 10-3 with the win.
“I’m disappointed because we didn’t pitch well, we played poor defense, and we really didn’t hit all that well either,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Kansas played a great game and they deserved to win; we have to play much better because they have an outstanding ball club.”
LSU was led offensively by first baseman Blake Dean, who finished 3-for-5 with a homer. Leon Landry also contributed three RBI in the game. Austin Nola, Grant Dozar and Tyler Hanover each notched two hits apiece.
Sophomore right-hander Joey Bourgeois (2-1) was credited with the loss after throwing 1.2 innings, allowing six runs on five hits. The winning pitcher was Kansas starter T.J. Walz (3-1), who pitched six innings with seven strikeouts.
The Tigers scored five runs in the eighth inning to pull within two at 11-9. The inning was highlighted by RBIs by Micah Gibbs, Hanover and Landry. Gibbs knocked in Trey Watkins on a fielder’s choice, while Hanover doubled in a run and Landry plated a score on a sacrifice fly.
LSU had a chance to tie the game in the ninth before Jayhawk reliever Brett Bochy shut the Tigers down in the final 2.1 innings, as he allowed no hits and struck out five in that span.
Dean got the Tigers on the board in the first inning when he launched a solo homer into the right field bleachers. Dean’s third homer of the season gave LSU a 1-0 lead. The homer was Dean’s 47th of his career, giving him sole possession of seventh place on LSU’s all-time list for home runs in a career.
Kansas tied the score at 1-1 in the second when catcher James Stanfield singled up the middle, scoring Jimmy Waters, who doubled earlier in the inning. Two batters later shortstop Brandon Macias lofted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Brett Lisher and giving the Jayhawks a 2-1 lead.
Jayhawk second baseman Robby Price cleared the bases on a two-out double off the wall later in the inning, extending Kansas’ lead to 5-1. Two batters later, Waters singled home Price to make the score 6-1.
Kansas plated three more runs in the top of the fourth after three-straight doubles to start the inning. The Jayhawks led 9-1 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
The Tigers responded in the bottom of the frame when Hanover doubled and Landry followed with his first homer of the season, cutting the LSU deficit to 9-3.
The Jayhawks plated two more runs in the fifth inning before Gibbs lifted a sacrifice fly to center, allowing Watkins to score from third. Kansas led 11-4 at that point.
Game 2 of the series will be held Saturday at 2 p.m., in Alex Box Stadium. Junior right-hander Austin Ross (2-0) will get the start on the mound for LSU. The Jayhawks will counter with senior right-hander Cameron Selik (3-0).