With his team as defeated as they have been since winning the College World Series last season, head coach Paul Mainieri made no bones about LSU’s 7-4 loss to the University of New Orleans on Tuesday night at Alex Box.
“I didn’t have [the team] ready for tonight,” Mainieri said. “I am ashamed of that. I feel bad for the fans that came out and watched us play. I feel like we let them down. It’s my responsibility, and I will get it corrected.”
After dropping three games in Oxford, Miss. over the weekend, LSU allowed the Privateers to put together a late-game rally, made up of four runs over the final two innings.
For the Tigers, who haven’t dropped a midweek game all season, the fourth-straight loss spelled tough times for a squad that heads to Gainesville, Fla. in three days for a weekend series.
“We are going to need to get a lot better to be competitive,” Mainieri said. “If we play like we did tonight it wont be pretty. Hopefully we will get it corrected.”
The evening started out like Mainieri would have scripted. Mikie Mahtook, the fill-in leadoff man for the injured Trey Watkins, was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a ground out by Blake Dean.
Mahtook’s offense showed up again in the following inning, hitting an RBI double to break the tie and later scoring on an RBI single by Austin Nola, bring the score to 3-1.
UNO added runs in the third and fourth to tie the game once more, eventually seeing LSU starting pitcher Daniel Bradshaw’s night end after 5.1 innings of work. The junior right-hander allowed just two earned runs to go along with five strikeouts.
“I thought [Bradshaw] did a pretty decent job,” Mainieri said. “It was not dominating, but good enough for us to win on most nights in the midweek.”
Yet on a night when LSU left 10 runners on base, the Privateers were never quite out of the ball game. And by the eighth, still tied at 3-3, the move was made.
LSU pitcher Austin Ross allowed the Privateers to move a runner to third on an errant throw and across the plate on a sacrifice fly. A two-out RBI single later in the inning would put the score at 5-3.
After the Tigers pulled within one on a Mahtook RBI single, the Privateers used a ninth-inning hit-and-run and RBI single up the middle to move the score to 7-4.
Jordan Rittiner was tagged with the LSU for LSU, bringing his record to 4-2. The freshman southpaw gave up the double to lead off the eighth, which eventually came across the plate to extend the lead to 4-3.
Paul Bertuccini, who pitched in relief after Bradshaw, tossed 1.2 innings of no run, no hit ball, walking just one batter and striking out one.
The winning pitcher for the Privateers was Mats Mattson, who moved to 3-1 after coming on to finish out the sixth, lasting 1.1 innings and allowing two hits and one earned run.