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Daniel Cabrera hits walk--off homer as LSU scores six in the ninth to stun Tennessee 9-7

April 15, 2018 - 7:42 pm
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James Moran, associate editor of Tiger Rag Magazine

Opportunities to sweep a Southeastern Conference series don’t tend to come around often, and capitalizing normally means taking a sizeable leap up the league standings.

It seemed LSU was going to squander that opportunity after a rough start and several defensive errors, allowing Tennessee to take a commanding lead, but the Volunteers left the proverbial door ajar and the Tigers emphatically kicked it in.

LSU roared back from four runs down in the ninth inning and Daniel Cabrera launched a walk-off three-run homer to stun Tennessee 9-7 and secure an improbable sweep in dramatic fashion at Alex Box Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Two errors and a Beau Jordan single through an overshift pulled LSU within three runs and chased Tennessee starter Will Neely from the game. Antoine Duplantis got plunked and Austin Bain kicked the comeback into gear with a two-run double to the gap in right-center field.

Two batters later, Cabrera ride the wind and sent one deep into the right-field bleachers.

The come-from-behind stunner pulls LSU (24-13, 9-6 SEC) within a game of first-place Arkansas in the SEC West at the halfway point of the 30-game league schedule. It was quite a wild way for LSU coach Paul Mainieri to win career game No. 1,400.

Things got off to a rough start as LSU tried to re-introduce the Johnny Wholestaff approach to SEC play.

Freshman right-hander Devin Fontenot started and worked a clean first inning before running into some trouble in the second. Designated hitter Nico Mascia led off with a double to right and first baseman Pete Derkay singled up the middle to give Tennessee its first lead of the series.

The Volunteers (22-16, 6-9 SEC) swelled that advantage against freshman right-hander AJ Labas one inning later. Labas began the inning with two quick outs, but a pair of seeing-eye singles kept the inning alive. Mascia jumped on the first offering from Labas and launched a three-run home run to right.

LSU squandered some early chances against Neely, going hitless in its first nine at-bats with men in scoring position, but eventually the Tigers began to chip away.

Austin Bain led off the fourth inning with a double and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Antoine Duplantis came through with a two-out RBI double in the fifth and Bain singled him home on the next offering from Neely to pull LSU within a run at 4-3.

Tennessee tacked on an insurance run in rather bizarre fashion. Lefty Nick Bush fielded a taper back to the mound with two on and out one in the seventh. He turned to second base but threw to Bain behind the bag instead of shortstop Hal Hughes, who was standing on it.

Bain alertly threw to first for one out, but Tennessee leadoff man Jay Charleston never broke stride and scored from second base without a throw amid the confusion without a throw from first baseman Nick Webre.

More defensive miscues allowed Tennessee to pull away in the eighth. A pair of runs scored thanks in large part to a pair of Jake Slaughter errors. Slaughter was charged with three errors on the afternoon.

LSU will play its next four games on the road starting with a trip to Tulane on Wednesday night. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Turchin Stadium.

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