We were supposed to beat Tennessee into the ground. On Friday night, that's exactly what we did. On Saturday, fielding issues and lack of timely hitting cut us down to size. On Sunday, a bad outing from our #3 starter and good work from the Tennessee pitchers allowed the Volunteers to take the series.
Austin Ross, who let's not forget was an SEC Pitcher of the Week just a few weeks ago, had his worst outing. Pitching only 2+ innings, he gave up six runs on six hits. He hit a batter and threw a wild pitch as well. Just a bad night for Ross, and it put us behind the 8-ball early.
Curiously, our bullpen did a pretty good job. Paul Bertuccini came in with the score 4-0 and runners on second and third. Those two runners scored, as could have been expected, and then Bradshaw gave up 3 runs in the 4th inning to make it 9-0. After that, Nolan Cain pitched most of the rest of the game and didn't give up anything. It was an outstanding outing for Nolan Cain, and it gave LSU a chance to make a comeback.
It was not to be, however. While we held Tennessee down after falling behind 9-0, we never got the big innings we needed to get back into it. While Tennessee was building up its lead, Tennessee starter Ty'Relle Harris was facing one batter over the minimum through the first four innings (thanks in part to yet another out given up on the bases in the first inning when Schimpf was doubled off of first base following a fly out to centerfield).
In the final innings, our biggest threats came when we had a runner on with one out and the top of the order up in the 7th. Mitchell and Schimpf both struck out, however. Then, in the 8th, we had two runners on with 1 out and Lemahieu up. No runs scored.
The game was a failure both of pitching and hitting. We lost our first conference series in over a year, and we failed to take the lead in the SEC West after Georgia took 2 of 3 from Arkansas.
We get a midweek game against SLU on Wednesday, then a home series against Auburn over the weekend.