LSU Baseball loses lead late, drops game 2 against Sacramento St - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

LSU Baseball loses lead late, drops game 2 against Sacramento State 5-4

(Information provided by LSU Athletics)

Trailing 4-3 heading into the top of the ninth inning, Sacramento State used an RBI single and sacrifice fly to defeat fifth-ranked LSU, 5-4, and even the series Saturday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.

The Tigers fell to 4-2 on the year, and the Hornets improved to 4-2.

Freshman Antoine Duplantis shined at the plate for the Tigers. The rightfielder finished the day 4-for-5 with one RBI and two doubles.

Right-hander Tyler Beardsley (1-0) earned the relief win for Sacramento State, firing two scoreless innings with one hit, no walks and one strikeout.

Freshman right-hander Caleb Gilbert (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season after giving up two runs – only one earned - in the top of the ninth after the Hornets’ leadoff hitter reached on an LSU error.

Gilbert worked the final 2.2 innings for the Tigers, recording one walk and five strikeouts.

The teams return to the field Sunday at 1 p.m. for Game 3 of the series. The contest may be viewed online only on SECNetwork +, accessible at WatchESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app. Fans can listen to the game on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge.

“All losses are tough, especially the ones where you felt like you should have won the ball game,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We had opportunities to extend our lead during the game, and we just didn’t come through when we needed to. You also have to credit Sacramento State – they’re a tough team, and they played very well. We gave them some opportunities late in the game with mistakes on defense, and they were able to take advantage of them.”

To open the top of the ninth, rightfielder Chris Lewis reached first on an error by shortstop Cole Freeman. Third baseman Kody Reynolds followed with a single to left field to put runners on first and second with no outs.

Designated hitter Matt Smith followed with a single through the right side of the field to score Reynolds and tie the game. First baseman Vinny Esposito hit a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Hornets the 5-4 lead.

Sacramento State took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second off the bat of Trent Goodrich. After LSU starter Alex Lange issued a walk, Goodrich lined a two-out double to left field to score Gunner Pollman.

The Tigers exploded for four runs in the bottom of the third inning. Second baseman Kramer Robertson started the rally off with a one-out triple to left-center field and leftfielder Brennan Breauxfollowed with a walk to put runners on the corners.

With the hit-and-run in motion, Duplantis singled to first base to score Robertson. Jake Fraley ripped a ground-rule double down the right-field line to score Breaux. Designated hitter Brody Woffordaccounted for the final runs of the inning with a two-RBI triple to left field.

The Hornets continued to chip at the LSU lead as they mustered two more runs in the top of the fourth. Esposito launched a solo home run to left-center field on the first pitch of the inning from Lange. Pollman followed with a double to left-center field and eventually moved to third on a ground out. With two outs, left fielder Andrew McWilliam singled to left field to score Pollman and cut the deficit to 4-3.

“Sacramento State made it difficult on Alex (Lange) today, and they hit the ball hard,” Mainieri said. “Caleb Gilbert gave us a tremendous effort at the end of the game, but we have to do a better job of helping him on defense. What’s important is for us to come back out tomorrow ready to play at a high level. We need to swing the bats well and play good defense behind (Sunday’s LSU starter John) Valek to give ourselves a chance to win.”

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