LSU rallies in 11th inning to take game two
LSU improves to 27-16-1 and 8-11-1 in the conference while the loss drops Carolina to 31-13 and 11-9 in the league. The final game of the series is scheduled for Sunday with first pitch at 2 pm ET.
South Carolina held the advantage going into the bottom of the 11th inning after scoring a run in the top half of the frame. Kyle Enders and Scott Wingo each singled with Enders scoring on a RBI base hit courtesy of Reese Havens. LSU reliever Jared Bradford was able to limit the damage though as he got out of a one-out bases loaded jam with strikeouts against James Darnell and Phil Disher. The Bayou Bengals then mounted their rally. Michael Hollander reached base to lead off the inning when third baseman James Darnell threw low to first base allowing Hollander to advance to second. A wild pitch by Parker Bangs then advanced Hollander to third base. Chris McGhee then lofted a short fly ball to left field. On the play, Andrew Crisp bobbled the fly ball allowing Hollander to score and McGhee to reach base. With McGhee on first, Derek Helenihi hit a sharp grounder that was fielded by Smoak at first base but allowed McGhee to reach second. With one out, McGhee then used his speed to steal third base and put the winning run 90 feet away from home plate. Carolina countered the stolen base with an intentional walk to Johnny Dishon to set up the double play. Micah Gibbs hit the first pitch he saw from Bangs with a sharp grounder to second base. On the play, second baseman Scott Wingo looked to turn the double play quck but could not field the ball cleanly and McGhee crossed home plate with the winning run and an 11-10 victory for the Tigers.
Bradford went four innings of relief and allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks. He is 7-4 on the year. Bangs suffered the loss in three innings of work. He allowed two runs, both unearned, on no hits with a pair of strikeouts and two walks.
Carolina started off the game well and broke out to 7-0 lead in the first six innings behind a stellar offense and good solid pitching from starter Will Atwood. South Carolina broke ahead early on LSU starter Jordan Brown with four runs in the first inning. For the second consecutive day, Reese Havens led off the game with a double. That extended his hitting streak to 14 games. He would score Carolina's first run on a RBI base hit from Justin Smoak. Smoak drilled the first pitch he saw from Brown for a single up the middle to give Carolina a one-run lead. The Gamecocks then caught a break as James Darnell reached base on a fielder's choice. On the play, Smoak also reached safely as a throw on the force play by shortstop DJ LeMahieu was low to second base giving the Gamecocks a pair of runners. With two outs, the Gamecocks loaded the bases on an infield single from Andrew Crisp. Carolina took advantage then as a single from Harley Lail scored two runs followed by a RBI base hit from Kyle Enders to score Crisp and give Carolina the 4-0 lead.
The Gamecocks knocked Brown from the game in the second inning loading the bases against the junior right-hander. LSU would bring reliever Nolan Cain into the game and the Gamecocks would score a run off of him with a RBI sacrifice fly from James Darnell that scored Reese Havens. Brown lasted only one-plus innings and allowed five runs, two earned, on five hits with a strikeout and two walks as well as a hit batter.
After a pair of scoreless innings, Carolina increased the lead to 6-0 in the fifth inning as Scott Wingo tagged Cain for a solo homer to right field. It marked Wingo's fifth home run of the season and his fourth in the last eight games. Carolina then went ahead 7-0 in the top of the sixth as Justin Smoak drove a pitch from reliever Shane Ardoin for a homer to left center. It marked Smoak's 18th homer of the year and his 57th of his career with the Garnet & Black.
LSU would get to Atwood in the bottom of the sixth inning with three runs to cut the Carolina lead to 7-3. Pinch hitter Chris McGee walked and Derek Helenihi singled to give the Tigers a pair of runners with no outs. McGee would score on a double play that was rolled up off the bat of Blake Dean to give LSU its first run of the game. With two outs the Tigers put together back-to-back hits as Micah Gibbs doubled and would score on a two-run homer from pinch hitter Sean Ochinko.
South Carolina got one of the runs back in the top of the seventh inning to go ahead 8-3 on a leadoff solo home run from Harley Lail. It was Lail's fourth home run of the season and his first since April 13 at Auburn.
The Tigers crept to within a run then scoring four times in the bottom of the seventh inning. Michael Hollander drew a one-out walk against Atwood. That would be the final batter for Atwood, who worked 6.1 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and compiled six strikeouts with three walks. With Gamecock right-hander Brandon Todd on in relief, Chris McGhee gave LSU its second runner with walk putting runners on first and second base. Derek Helenihi singled to left field to score Hollander followed by a RBI base hit from Blake Dean. On the play, Dean got caught in a rundown but a ball thrown by Reese Havens to Scott Wingo, went off of Wingo's glove and allowed a second run to score for LSU. The overthrow put Dean on third base and he would score on a RBI sacrifice fly from Micah Gibbs to make it 8-7.
South Carolina went back ahead by two runs in the top of the eighth inning as a two-out RBI single from Phil Disher scored Justin Smoak to give South Carolina a 9-7 lead. LSU came back though and tied the game at 9-9 in the bottom of the eighth inning. DJ LeMahieu would open the inning with a walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch from Brandon Todd. With reliever Craig Thomas in to pitch, the Gamecocks got the first out of the inning with a strikeout against Leon Landry. With Thomas the left-hander still on the mound, LSU went to the bench for pinch hitter Nicholas Pontiff. Pontiff drove a two-run homer to left field to tie the game at nine apiece.
Both teams would go scoreless in the ninth and 10th innings against Bradford and Bangs before the dramatics of the 11th inning.
South Carolina suffered its first loss of the year when out-hitting an opponent. Carolina held a 17-11 advantage in hits including a 4-for-4 performance from Justin Smoak. Smoak reached base safely all seven times in the game as he also drew three walks. Wingo added a career-high three hits with Enders also tallying three and Reese Havens, Phil Disher and Harley Lail contributing two apiece as well. LSU was led by Blake Dean who had three in the game. Derek Helenihi had two as well as DJ LeMahieu.
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