On a night crucial to LSU’s postseason resume, the Tiger’s offense never materialized against the worst team in the Western Division. LSU lost to Alabama 6-1 and took a major blow to their chances of participating in the NCAA postseason.
Ma’Khail Hilliard never really settled in to the game, and Bama took advantage in the 2nd inning. After back to back lead off walks and a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position with no outs, Bama’s DH Kyle Kaufman brought a run home on a sacf fly. Bama 3B Cobie Vance then slammed a home run over the left field bleachers for another two runs. With two outs, Hilliard could not find a way out of the inning, giving up back to back singles and a walk, then hitting Bama LF Keith Holcombe for the disheartening HBP RBI. Hilliard was almost pulled right there, but was able to induce a pop up to end the inning.
Alabama came right back for more in the 3rd, as Vance had another hard hit ball into the left corner for an RBI, though he was caught in a rundown trying for 2 to end the inning. Hilliard had 4 hits, 5 earned runs, 5 walks and just 1 strikeout in his 3 innings of work, his worst outing since the road start at South Carolina.
Cam Sanders enterd for the 4th and prevented more damage, though it wasn’t smooth sailing. His outing started inauspiciously when he failed to touch the 1B bag in time on a ground ball and put the first runner on with his own error. In the 5th he allowed a lead off single and a walk, but was then able to strike out the next three batters, including the hard-hitting Vance, to escape. In the 7th with 2 outs, Sanders walked a pair and was pulled for Vietmeier, who promptly gave up a single that scored Bama’s 6th run.
The Tigers would get one run back in the 4th. Antoine Duplantis hit a lead off double into the left corner and was brought home on a Daniel Cabrera single. The rally then ended abruptly on a Zach Watson double play, his second of the night. Most of LSU’s night at the plate would go that quietly. The Tigers only had 5 hits and 3 walks on Bama pitching, with only 3 strikeouts. Everything LSU got good contact on found a glove.
I’m no expert in the dark arts that is college baseball RPI, but this loss dealt a significant blow to LSU’s postseason hopes. Assuming the Tigers can come back Sunday to win the series against Bama, some success on the road next weekend or a significant stay in Hoover at the conference tournament is almost a requirement now if LSU’s season is to continue into June.
Sunday LSU will start Nick Bush. AJ Labas is a late scratch due to shoulder soreness.