LSU baseball drops the series to Alabama, sees its postseason chances dwindle

LSU baseball dropped game three against Alabama. Its postseason hopes are now on life support after losing the series. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

LSU needed this game against Alabama. A win would’ve locked up a spot in the SEC Tournament and given the Tigers a good shot at postseason play heading into its final series of the season.

But just like it has all season, LSU dug itself into too big of an early hole to get out of. The Tigers couldn’t quite make it out of the four-run early deficit in a 4-3 loss to the Tide.

“I’m proud of how our team competed, we were ready to play,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “Our players are hurting right now, they poured a lot into this weekend. I’m really proud of the pitching staff today, but we just didn’t get it done.

LSU falls to 33-20 on the season and 10-17 in SEC play. Alabama moves on to 32-19 and 12-15 in conference play.

Alabama’s offense had a big inning in the bottom of the second to jump out into an early lead. Kade Snell singled followed by a walk from TJ McCants and another single from Mac Guscette. William Hamiter hit an RBI single to center field before LSU pulled Sam Dutton.

It was just Dutton’s second start of the season and his first in SEC play. He went 1.1 innings while giving up three hits and two earned runs. Aiden Moffett came in with the bases loaded and one out gone. Brady Neal couldn’t hang on to the ball for LSU and allowed another run to score.

A groundout brought home another runner before LSU was able to get out of the inning. Moffett threw a wild pitch, but it bounced right back to Neal who was able to get the third out with the Tigers trailing 3-0.

Alabama added another run to its lead in the third. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases before Moffett was relieved by Justin Loer. A sac fly scored the fourth run of the game for the Tide. Loer forced a line out and a ground out to limit the damage though.

LSU got its first hit of the game in the fourth inning though thanks to a double from Josh Pearson. Pearson made it to third before Ashton Larson hit into a fielder’s choice that scored a run and put LSU on the board. A fly out ended the inning with the score 4-1.

Fidel Ulloa came in for Loer in the fifth and quieted down the Alabama offense. He allowed one walk in the fifth and sent the Tide down in order in the sixth to give LSU’s offense a chance to cut into the lead.

But the Tigers just couldn’t much past Alabama starter Ben Hess. He went a season-high 6.2 innings and surrendered just three hits, three walks and one run while recording 10 strikeouts. He was pulled for Alton Davis in the seventh two outa gone and runners on the corners.

A wild pitch from Davis put the runners on second and third, but LSU couldn’t cut into the lead and a groundout ended the inning.

Ulloa was pulled for DJ Primeaux in the bottom of the seventh inning with a runner on first and no outs gone. Primeaux got an out, but after hitting a batter with a pitch and an intentional walk loaded the bases he was pulled for Christian Little.

Little induced to straight pop outs to get out of the inning and give LSU’s offense another chance to respond. This time though, LSU’s offense did have a response.

Jake Brown showed some great hustle and beat the pitcher to first base to get the inning started. Pearson was hit by a pitch to put a runner in scoring position before White hit an RBI single to cut the deficit to two runs.

The runners moved to second and third thanks to a wild pitch and then Jared Jones hit a groundout that brought a runner home and put another on third. The tying run was just 90-feet away with one out gone, but a strikeout and a line out sent the game to the eighth inning with LSU trailing by 4-3.

Little got out of the bottom of the inning without allowing Alabama to add to its lead. LSU came up to bat in the top of the ninth just three outs away from its postseason dream being crushed.

Michael Braswell III started the inning with a single to put the tying run on base, but a fly out and a foul out sent LSU down to its final out. A strikeout from Brown ended the game.

LSU baseball will wrap up the regular season with a home series against Ole Miss. Game One will be on Thursday and will start at 6 p.m. It’ll be televised on SEC Network.

“We’ve got a huge series this week with Ole Miss, and we’re happy to be at home,” Johnson said.

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Will Nickel

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