Two disastrous innings keep LSU baseball from sweeping No. 1 Texas A&M

LSU baseball dropped game three to No. 1 Texas A&M but still took the series 2-1. PHOTO BY: Michael Bacigalupi

LSU baseball wanted its first sweep of the season, but No. 1 Texas A&M (40-8, 16-8 SEC) wanted to avoid being swept for the first time this year even more.

The Tigers claimed an early lead for the first time in the series, but a disastrous fifth inning sunk their chances of busting out the brooms and handed the Aggies a 14-4 win.

Outside of the fifth and ninth innings, LSU allowed just two hits and three walks, but the big innings killed the Tigers. The Aggies scored all 14 of their runs in those two innings.

“We knew we were playing a difficult opponent,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said, “and I think for the first 22 innings of the series we pitched just about as well as we could. Texas A&M got a little bit of a crack there in the fifth inning, and they were able to blow the doors off. We did a good job to get the early lead and keep them at bay for a while, but credit to them for coming through in the end.

LSU (31-18, 9-15 SEC) jumped out to an early lead thanks to a Brady Neal two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning. It was the first time in the series that LSU struck first after trailing early in each of the first two games.

The Tigers added to their lead again in the bottom of the third thanks to an RBI single from Josh Pearson that scored Tommy White who had walked earlier in the inning. A pair of walks followed to load up the bases, but LSU couldn’t bring anyone else home and headed to the fourth up 3-0.

The Aggies were sent three up, three down by Sam Dutton who had played perfect baseball up until the fifth inning. Dutton came in for starter Nate Ackenhausen in the second inning and sent the first seven batters he faced back to the dugout without any trouble.

But then, the fifth inning happened.

Texas A&M started with a leadoff triple before an RBI single form Travis Chestnut scored the first of many runs. A single put two runners on before Gavin Grahovac blasted a three-RBI homer to give the Aggies their first lead of the game.

Justin Loer came in for Dutton and struck out the first batter he faced, but then walked a batter and gave up a homer to Jackson Appel to score two more. The second triple of the inning followed suit and Loer was pulled for Thatcher Hurd.

Hurd walked the first three batters he faced to score another run before being pulled for Aidan Moffett. Moffett gave up a pair of singles that scored two more runs before getting out of the inning with a strikeout and a flyout.

All in all, the Aggies scored nine runs on eight hits and four walks in an inning that lasted around 40 minutes and saw LSU throw three different pitchers. The inning lasted so long that Texas A&M reliver Chris Cortex had to start warming up again.

Despite the two singles in the fifth inning, Moffett’s performance was promising for LSU. He showed off a breaking ball that he’s been developing and struck out six batters while allowing just three hits in 3.1 innings pitched.

Cortez gave the LSU offense fits after coming in for starter Tanner Jones in the third inning. He allowed just one hit and struck out six batters in 4.1 innings pitched. His pitched routinely hit 100 mph and blew past the LSU batters.

Cam Johnson came in to pitch for Moffett in the eighth inning and struck out the first batter he faced to head to the bottom of the inning with LSU still trailing by six runs. Cortez was replaced by Kaiden Wilson to start the bottom of the eighth.

Wilson walked the first two batters he faced before being pulled for Evan Aschenbeck. He induced a double play and a flyout to head to the ninth.

Johnson walked two batters to start the ninth before being pulled for Will Hellmers. Hellmers walked a batter to load the bases with no outs gone. A grand slam from Kaeden Kent, his first homer in college, extended the lead to 13-3. A solo shot from Jace LaViolette tacked on another run.

“I don’t look at the ninth inning and go like, ‘Oh, this is some horrific loss because they added five late,’ ” Johnson said. “We just ran out of steam a little bit.”

The Tigers got on the board again in the ninth thanks to a single from Ethan Frey and an RBI single from Paxton Kling. The hits were their first since the fourth inning. A fly out ended the game afterwards, and LSU ended the game with just six hits.

LSU baseball returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Northwestern State at 6:30 p.m. in Alex Box stadium.

“We’re still in the fight for a postseason bid, and we’ve really improved over the last month,” Johnson said. “We’ve given ourselves a chance. In the last few weeks, we’ve put ourselves into the best position we possibly could to play postseason baseball. We’re just going to have to keep fighting.”

author avatar
Will Nickel

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


30 ÷ three =