ATHENS, Ga. – Down 6-1 in the eighth inning, the No. 7 LSU baseball team rallied to put up six runs in the final two innings against No. 5 Georgia, but it was not enough as the Bulldogs captured the series win Sunday afternoon in Foley Field.
Georgia improves to 21-3 on the year and 5-1 in SEC play while LSU drops to 17-7 overall and 4-2 in conference.
“It was just such an evenly contested series,” head coach Paul Mainieri said. “The two teams were about as even as they possibly could be. A little thing here and a little thing there determined the outcome. We won one out of three this weekend. On the road in the SEC, that’s tough to do. We will turn the page and get ready for next weekend.”
LSU will return to action with a midweek contest against McNeese State Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The game will be available online through the SEC Network+. It will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Fans can also listen to the game online at LSUsports.net/live.
Georgia’s Tony Locey (4-0) earned the win and threw 5.1 innings and gave up one run on two hits, walked five and struck out one. Schunk moved from third base to the mound with one out in the eighth inning. The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits and walked two to earn his ninth save of the year and second of the weekend.
Eric Walker (1-1) suffered the loss and allowed four runs on five hits, walked one and struck out five in five innings. The Tiger bullpen relied on Matthew Beck, Trent Vietmeier, Todd Peterson and Clay Moffitt for the final three innings. The four pitchers combined for five runs on six hits, two walks and one strikeout.
With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Georgia right fielder Riley King singled to left field, and third baseman Schunk followed with a single to left field. The duo advanced to scoring position after a fielding error by the left fielder. After intentionally walking second baseman LJ Talley, designated hitter John Cable belted a grand slam over the right field wall to give Georgia the 4-0 lead.
With one out and runners on the corners after left fielder Daniel Cabrera led off the inning with a walk and first baseman Cade Beloso reached on a fielder’s choice, second baseman Brandt Broussard hit a sacrifice fly ball to left-center field to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 4-1.
Georgia manufactured a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning when center fielder Tucker Maxwell hit a one out single to center field, stole second, stole third and then scored on an error by the catcher. With two outs and runners on first and second after back-to-back base hits, second baseman LJ Talley singled to shortstop to drive in King and make it a 6-1 game in favor of the Bulldogs.
The Tigers rallied in the eighth inning to put up four runs. Shortstop Josh Smith hit a leadoff home run to opposite field for his second dinger of the year. With runners on the corners after center fielder Zach Watson walked and right fielder Antoine Duplantis singled to center field, third baseman Chris Reid sent a sacrifice fly to left field. Cabrera followed with a two-run blast to cut the Georgia lead one run, 6-5.
Georgia responded in the bottom of the eighth with three runs. First baseman Chaney Rogers drew a leadoff walk and catcher Austin Biggar hit a two-run home run to right field. With one out, Maxwell sent a solo shot over the right field wall to extend the Bulldog lead to 9-5.
Smith led off the top of the ninth inning with a base hit to right field before Watson was robbed of extra bases for the first out of the inning. With one out Duplantis singled to right field, and Reid walked to load the bases. Cabrera drilled a single into right field to bring in Smith, and designated hitter Giovanni DiGiacomo grounded out to second base, which allowed Duplantis to score, finalizing the game at 9-7.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LSU SPORTS INFORMATION