LSU baseball struggles to hit, drops game to Southern for fourth time in history

LSU baseball fell to Southern for just the fourth time ever on Monday night. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

Southern had only beaten LSU three times in 62 tries coming into the game tonight, but all three wins came in Alex Box.

The fourth win came there too.

LSU (20-10, 2-7) used eight pitchers and couldn’t seem to hit the Jaguars’ (12-13, 6-1) pitching staff in the 12-7 loss. The Jaguars now have wins over Skip Bertman, Smoke Laval, Paul Mainieri and Jay Johnson.

Southern jumped out to an early lead when Tyeler Hawkins, who drove in six runs for the Jaguars against Prairie View yesterday, hit a three-run homer. His left field bomb came after a walk and a single for the Jaguars.

Hawkins finished the day with three hits and Jaguars left with 11 total. LSU only managed four hits on the night and only three of its runs were earned.

“We’ve got to change the way we prepare, clearly,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of things that will fall directly on me as the head coach, and I’m OK with that. I believe in how we do and what we do, and we’re going to make some adjustments to those things. Not just from a baseball standpoint, but from an approach standpoint to winning. We’re going to change some rules up, and go from there.”

Sam Dutton came in to pitch for Anderson in the third inning. Anderson finished the day allowing three this, three runs and two walks with six strikeouts in 2.0 innings pitched.

LSU was able to cut into the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Hayden Travinski and Brady Neal were walked, and a fielding error loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly and groundout scored two runners to bring the score to 3-2.

Christian Little came in to pitch with one out gone and no runners on in the top of the fifth inning. He gave up a single to Hawkins and walked another before being pulled for Justin Loer. An intentional walk loaded the bases. Ryan Ollison hit a three-RBI double, and Donny Sandifer followed it up with a two-RBI homer to bring the score to 8-2. LSU’s offense still hadn’t recorded its first hit of the game.

Tommy White would get the first hit for the Tigers in the bottom of the fifth before Ashton Larson reached on an error. A flyball advanced White to third and a groundout brought home.

Neal knocked a two-RBI homer over left field to bring the score to 8-5.

Micah Bucknam came in to pitch to start the sixth inning and struck out the first two batters he faced before giving up two straight singles. It looked like the Tigers would get out of the inning without allowing another run, but Michael Braswell III fumbled what should’ve been a groundout and the error brought home a runner.

The Tigers cut the deficit back down to three runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a wild pitch that came after White was walked and Larson was hit by a pitch. Travinski grounded out to strand two runners on base with LSU trailing 9-6.

The next score change came in the bottom of the eighth inning. Mac Bingham was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning before White singled to put runners on first and second with no outs. Deep flyballs on back-to-back at bats let Bingham advance to third and home.

Travinski was walked to put the tying runs on bases, but a ground out sent LSU down to its final outs facing a 9-7 hole.

Thatcher Hurd gave up a single and hit a batter with a pitch to put runners on first and second with one out gone in the top of the ninth. He walked the next batter he faced to load the bases. The Tigers looked like they might’ve been able to record an out or even a double play, but the ball went right under the glove of Steven Milam and the error scored a runner.

LSU recorded an out at home and tried to turn a double play at first base, but Neal’s throw went into the outfield and the Tigers trailed 12-7. Aidan Moffett came in to record the final out of the inning.

“You’re either good enough or you’re not,” Johnson said. “And we were not good enough tonight.”

Milam started the bottom of the inning with a walk before a deep flyball from Pearson was caught after it bounced off the wall and Milam was forced out at second. One umpire signaled that the ball was caught while another signaled that the ball hit the wall. The result was a runner on first with one out gone.

A strike out and a fly out ended the game.

“Congratulations to (Southern coach) Chris (Crenshaw) and their program,” Johnson said. “They’ve rattled off several wins in row, and they’re playing good baseball.

LSU’s next game is on Thursday when it hosts Vanderbilt in game one of its fourth SEC series of the year.

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