LSU baseball blows ninth inning lead, drops game two to Florida in 11 innings

LSU baseball dropped game two of the series in extra innings against Florida. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

After leading for most of the game, No. 5 LSU found itself staring down extra innings with No. 8 Florida in a 4-4 game.

The Tigers held a lead from the fifth inning all the way until the ninth inning when Florida (13-9, 3-2 SEC) tied things up to force extra innings. Jac Caglianone hit a two RBI homer to give Florida the lead 6-4 in the 11th inning. LSU (19-5, 2-3 SEC) couldn’t recover in the bottom of the frame and dropped game two of the series.

“It was a good college baseball game, you have to tip your hat to Florida,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “Tomorrow’s another opportunity for us to show how much we’ve grown as a team. This is a tough loss, we’re going to have to bounce back and get ready to go. I have no doubt our team will be ready to do that.”

Gage Jump got the start on the mound for the Tigers and kept in check for most of the night. He went 5.2 innings and gave up just two runs, two hits and four walks while recording eight strikeouts. He threw a season-high 105 pitches.

Liam Peterson got the start for Florida and struggled with the Tigers’ big hitters. He held LSU scoreless through the first two innings but ended the night allowing eight hits, four runs and three walks in 4.1 innings pitched. He gave up three home runs on the night.

Both offenses were held scoreless through the first two innings and the first hit of the game didn’t come until the third inning. Jake Brown recorded the first hit of the night for LSU with a one-out single. Mac Bingham hit a single of his own and an error on the throw to first base allowed Brown to score and give LSU a 1-0 lead.

Jump found himself in a jam for the first time after walking the first three batters to start the fourth inning. LSU recorded a double play in the next at bat, but Florida scored and tied the game. An RBI single from Dale Thomas scored another and gave the Gators their first lead of the night 2-1.

LSU responded right away in the bottom of the fourth with a Hayden Travinski solo homer to tie the score back up. The Tigers got two more on base, but a double play ended the fourth inning.

Jump forced a three up, three down inning in the top of the fifth inning before solo home runs from Bingham and Jared Jones gave the lead back to LSU. LSU would hold on to that lead until the ninth inning. A fly out from Michael Braswell III stranded two runners on base but LSU led 4-2 heading to the sixth inning.

Gavin Guidry came in for Jump and recorded a strikeout against the first batter he faced to head to the bottom of the sixth. Guidry retired the first four batters he faced before being pulled for Nate Ackenhausen after giving up a double to start the eighth inning.

Ackenhausen gave up a single to Jac Caglianone to put runners on the corners with no outs. Ackenhausen struck out a batter and forced a fly out to get the first two outs of the inning. He struck out the next batter, but Alex Milazzo couldn’t field the ball on the wild pitch and the runner reached first and Florida added a run. A fly out ended the inning with LSU leading 4-3.

LSU couldn’t add to its lead in the bottom of the eighth and headed to the ninth inning just three outs away from clinching its first SEC series of the season.

Ackenhausen walked the leadoff batter in the top of the ninth to put the tying run on base. A fly out and a groundout meant LSU was one out away from the win with a runner in scoring position. An RBI single from Ty Evans brought the runner home and tied the score at 4-4.

LSU couldn’t walk it off in the bottom of the ninth inning and sent the game to extra innings with a Travinski fly out.

Ackenhausen hit a batter with a pitch and gave up a single to put runners on the corners with one out gone in the top of the 10th inning. Thomas was intentionally walked to load the bases. Steven Milam made a throw to home plate to record the second out of the inning and keep the bases loaded. Ackenhausen recorded a strikeout to end the inning and get out of the jam.

LSU went three up, three down to head to the 11th inning still tied at 4-4.

Evans reached base with a single before a two RBI homer gave Florida a 6-4 lead in the top of the 11th inning. Ackenhausen was pulled for Will Hellmers with two outs gone and a runner on first. Hellmers forced a flyout to head to the bottom of the frame.

“[Caglianone] is one of the best players in the country,” Johnson said. “If we were able to get Evans out we were going to walk him and take out chances with the next guy. I thought Nate [Ackenhausen] competed fine. Obviously got us out of a big mess there in the 10th and their guy hit a homer.”

Tommy White recorded a single to give LSU its first hit since the seventh inning with two outs gone. White stole second to put a runner in scoring position before Jones grounded out to end the game.

LSU and Florida will play tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the rubber match. That game will be televised on SEC Network.

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