LSU was three outs away from taking a series against the #11 team in the country and a moment that might have started the turnaround of the year.
Unfortunately LSU couldn’t get those three outs and dropped both seven-inning games of Saturday’s doubleheader, losing the series in the process after South Carolina came back to win game one 4-2 and dominated game two 9-0.
“What could have been a good day to win a series turned into a tough day for us,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “I feel bad for the kids. It just didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”
AJ Labas had a phenomenal start going in game one but ultimately came unraveled in the seventh and final inning when he allowed two leadoff singles.
Labas’ line was still respectable with 6.1 innings with just two runs allowed on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts, but it was enough to give Labas a no-decision.
“I just lost my command a little bit,” Labas said. “Just wasn’t going after hitters and falling behind in counts. Just something I wasn’t doing all game today. I was getting ahead in the first six innings, making my pitches and they hadn’t made any contact and then the seventh inning came around and I was leaving balls out over the plate and not hitting spots.”
Devin Fontenot inherited the runners Labas let on and promptly allowed a game-tying double to the South Carolina eight-hole hitter, hit the nine-hole hitter, and allowed another double to put the Gamecocks to score two more runs and flip a 0-2 deficit to a 4-2 lead in the final inning.
LSU scored the game’s first run in the first inning when a two-out walk to Gavin Dugas came around to score on a double from Cade Doughty and then picked up another in the second when Jordan Thompson worked a leadoff walk and scored on a single from Hayden Travinski.
However after that, the Tigers would pick up just two more hits in the game, failing to offer Labas any addition support outside those runs.
“It’s such a shame,” Mainieri said. “AJ pitched such a great ballgame for us.”
Game two wasn’t quite as close, with the Gamecocks roaring out to 5-0 lead after two innings, including a two-run home run, an RBI triple and an RBI double.
LSU starter Blake Money would last just an inning, allowing five runs off five hits with one walk and one strikeout as the Tigers continue to struggle to find a third pitcher to fill out the rotation in Jaden Hill’s absence.
The Gamecocks tacked three more runs on the sixth inning off a solo home run and three straight two-out single.
“It’s tought,” Labas said. “But at the same time we have to move forward.”