LSU squanders four run lead in loss to FSU

Reese Albert hits two home runs for Seminoles

Seth Dunlap
June 08, 2019 - 5:20 pm

Seth Dunlap, WWL.com

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A day of early celebration for Tiger fans at the NCAA Super Regional between LSU and FSU turned into a showcase of frustration and missed opportunities that ended a bitter 6-4 loss for LSU.  Unfortunately, it’s something they’ve experienced far too often this season.

LSU was in control early, taking a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning.  The Tigers were building on that lead after scoring one run in four consecutive innings between the 2nd and 5th.  However, they missed multiple opportunities to score additional runs, in part due to a pair of baserunning mistakes. 

Saul Garza missed the bag at second base while rounding towards third on a Cade Beloso double in the bottom of the 4th inning.  Garza, who didn't know whether to return to second or continue to third, hesitated on the basepaths for multiple seconds before jogging to third.  Garza was eventually called out after an appeal by Florida State.  The next batter was Brandt Broussard who ripped an RBI single, scoring Beloso.  Garza would have also scored, if not for the baserunning mistake.

Then in the fifth inning, Josh Smith and Zach Watson led off with back-to-back singles.  After an Antoine Duplantis strikeout, Daniel Cabrera laced an RBI single into right field to score Smith.  The cutoff throw went to third base where Watson was caught in a pickle.  After an extended rundown, Watson was tagged out.  Cabrera had ample time to get to second base, before Watson was called out with imploring screams from coach Paul Mainieri and others.  However, Cabrera didn't advance and stayed at first base and out of scoring position.  Garza grounded into a fielders choice during the ensuing at bat to end the Tigers threat.

Then, there was third baseman Hal Hughes, who would probably classify his entire 2019 season as a struggle.  Those struggles continued in this game. Hughes stranded runners in scoring position in both the 2nd and 4th innings, when he struck out looking and popped out meekly to shortstop.

These missed opportunities would come back to haunt LSU.  Trent Vietmeier came on in relief of Todd Peterson with two runners on and nobody out in the top of the 7th inning.  Reese Albert immediately launched a Vietmeier pitch over the right field fence to tie the ballgame.  Once again, the Tigers inability to take full advantage of early scoring opportunities came back to bite them.

WWL's Kristian Garic noted that the Tigers lack fo left-handed bullpen depth was costly against a player like Albert.

"I think this is the game where not having a left handed arm in the bullpen really came back to bite LSU.  It would have been nice have the option to bring in a lefty to face the left handed Reese Albert," said Garic.

It wouldn't take long for the Seminoles to strike again.  Devin Fontenot came in to pitch for LSU in the top of the 8th inning, but was ineffective,.  He walked two batters and gave up a hit to load the bases with only one out.  Mainieri decided to go to the bullpen again, this time bringing in fireball closer Zach Hess to try and get the Tigers out of the jam.  Tim Becker, the much-heralded walk-on senior for Florida State, delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly to deep left field.  That put the Seminoles back on top 5-4.

That lead would hold to the 9th inning, when Albert again went hard, this time crushing a Hess fastball and putting it into the stands. The score now 6-4 in FSU's advantage. Hess walked the next batter, Drew Mendoza; then Brandt Broussard committed a throwing error on a Robby Martin ground ball, putting two on with nobody out for the Seminoles.  Hess would ultimately get out of the inning with no further damage, after inducing a double play by J.C. Flowers and getting Matheu Nelson to fly out.

That left LSU with one final chance in the 9th inning.  Chris Reid led off the inning with a single for the Tigers.  Giovanni DiGiacomo pinch hit for Hughes, but flew out to deep center field.  Smith struck out swinging; and Watson walked, putting the tying run on first base with two outs.  LSU career hits leader Antoine Duplantis has a opportunity to be the hero, but he popped out behind home plate giving the Seminoles a 6-4 victory.

"Ten walks, two base running blunders ultimately did the Tigers in," Garic said after the game.  "Mistakes like that on this stage against good teams will get you beat, and you knew it was a matter of time before FSU took advantage of the free passes issued by Tiger pitchers." 

LSU now faces elimination, needing to win the final two games of this Super Regional series against Florida State to advance to the College World Series.  Game 2 is tomorrow evening at 5:00 p.m. in Baton Rouge.

Super Regional between LSU and FSU turned into a showcase of frustration and missed opportunities that ended a bitter 6-4 loss for LSU.  Unfortunately, it’s something they’ve experienced far too often this season.

LSU was in control early, taking a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning.  The Tigers were building on that lead after scoring one run in four consecutive innings between the 2nd and 5th.  However, they missed multiple opportunities to score additional runs, in part due to a pair of baserunning mistakes. 

Saul Garza missed the bag at second base while rounding towards third on a Cade Beloso double in the bottom of the 4th inning.  Garza, who didn't know whether to return to second or continue to third, hesitated on the basepaths for multiple seconds before jogging to third.  Garza was eventually called out after an appeal by Florida State.  The next batter was Brandt Broussard who ripped an RBI single, scoring Beloso.  Garza would have also scored, if not for the baserunning mistake.

Then in the fifth inning, Josh Smith and Zach Watson led off with back-to-back singles.  After an Antoine Duplantis strikeout, Daniel Cabrera laced an RBI single into right field to score Smith.  The cutoff throw went to third base where Watson was caught in a pickle.  After an extended rundown, Watson was tagged out.  Cabrera had ample time to get to second base, before Watson was called out with imploring screams from coach Paul Mainieri and others.  However, Cabrera didn't advance and stayed at first base and out of scoring position.  Garza grounded into a fielders choice during the ensuing at bat to end the Tigers threat.

Then, there was third baseman Hal Hughes, who would probably classify his entire 2019 season as a struggle.  Those struggles continued in this game. Hughes stranded runners in scoring position in both the 2nd and 4th innings, when he struck out looking and popped out meekly to shortstop.

These missed opportunities would come back to haunt LSU.  Trent Vietmeier came in relief of Todd Peterson with two runners on and nobody out in the top of the 7th inning.  Reese Albert immediately launched a Vietmeier pitch over the right field fence to tie the ballgame.  Once again, the Tigers inability to take full advantage of early scoring opportunities came back to bite them.

WWL's Kristian Garic noted that the Tigers lack fo left-handed bullpen depth was costly against a player like Albert.

"I think this is the game where not having a left handed arm in the bullpen really came back to bite LSU.  It would have been nice have the option to bring in a lefty to face the left handed Reese Albert," said Garic.

It wouldn't take long for the Seminoles to strike again.  Devin Fontenot came in to pitch for LSU in the top of the 8th inning, but was ineffective,.  He walked two batters and gave up a hit to load the bases with only one out.  Mainieri decided to go to the bullpen again, this time bringing in fireball closer Zach Hess to try and get the Tigers out of the jam.  Tim Becker, the much-heralded walk-on senior for Florida State, delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly to deep left field.  That put the Seminoles back on top 5-4.

That lead would hold to the 9th inning, when Albert again went hard, this time crushing a Hess fastball and putting it into the stands. The score now 6-4 in FSU's advantage. Hess walked the next batter, Drew Mendoza; then Brandt Broussard committed a throwing error on a Robby Martin ground ball, putting two on with nobody out for the Seminoles.  Hess would ultimately get out of the inning with no further damage, after inducing a double play by J.C. Flowers and getting Matheu Nelson to fly out.

That left LSU with one final chance in the 9th inning.  Chris Reid led off the inning with a single for the Tigers.  Giovanni DiGiacomo pinch hit for Hughes, but flew out to deep center field.  Smith struck out swinging; and Watson walked, putting the tying run on first base with two outs.  LSU career hits leader Antoine Duplantis has a opportunity to be the hero, but he popped out behind home plate giving the Seminoles a 6-4 victory.

"Ten walks, two base running blunders ultimately did the Tigers in," Garic said after the game.  "Mistakes like that on this stage against good teams will get you beat, and you knew it was a matter of time before FSU took advantage of the free passes issued by Tiger pitchers." 

LSU now faces elimination, needing to win the final two games of this Super Regional series against Florida State to advance to the College World Series.  Game 2 is tomorrow evening at 5:00 p.m. in Baton Rouge.

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