Weather forces tie between LSU, Florida

LSU's series with Florida had a bittersweet finish Sunday with the final game ending in an 8-8 tie after nine innings.<br><br>Sloppy weather delayed the start of the game, and the game had to end early to accommodate Florida's travel plans.

The Tiger offense made up for struggles by the pitching staff by ripping 16 hits, including some timely ones late in the game.

But LSU's chances to take the lead went by the wayside as the Tigers left ten runners on base and hit into four double plays.

"We feel like we should have won," said LSU infielder Blake Gill. "We had our opportunities, and we played our hardest, but the ball didn't bounce our way a few times and that's how it happens."

The Gators jumped on the scoreboard quickly in the first inning when designated hitter Mario Garza belted a triple to the warning track in left-center field to bring in two runs.

It was a shaky inning for LSU starting pitcher Jake Tompkins, who walked a batter and threw a wild pitch that allowed a runner to advance aside from giving up the two runs.

Tompkins would be pulled in the third for freshman Justin Meier after giving up six hits and three runs with a walk and a strikeout. Tompkins, a second team All-SEC selection in 2002, is 0-2 with a 5.13 ERA in six starts this season.

"He has to get better," said LSU coach Smoke Laval. "He's not right here. We're going to have to give him a little extra work in the middle of the week and see what happens."

Florida added another run in the second with a sacrifice fly by Jake Riordan, but LSU countered in the bottom of the inning with Bruce Sprowl's sacrifice fly.

Sprowl brought in another run in the fourth with a single up the middle that scored Quinn Stewart.

J.C. Holt followed Sprowl with another RBI single to knot the score at 3-3.

Florida jumped back on top in the sixth with a single by Jeff Corsaletti that brought in Brian Rose.

Meier was replaced in the fifth inning by Billy Sadler, who gave up another RBI single before getting out of the inning by striking out the final two batters.

The Tigers quickly got back in the game in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Ivan Naccarata extended his itting streak to 18 games with a single up the middle that scored two runs to make it a 5-5 game.

Florida brought in relief pitcher Darren O'Day in the sixth, but it did little to slow down the LSU bats. Clay Harris, the first batter to face O'Day, pulled a three-run homer to left field for an 8-5 LSU lead.

The Gators evened the score again in the eighth with RBI singles from Jonathan Tucker and Ben Harrison.

Sadler finished the game for LSU, giving up three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.

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