4.13.18 Baseball Vs Tennessee

LSU junior pitcher Cam Sanders (49) pitches the ball during LSU’s 9-3 victory over University of Tennessee in Alex Box Stadium on Friday, April 13, 2018.

LSU was unable to replicate Friday night’s magic after a second straight rough start from a Tiger starting pitcher, falling to the Crimson Tide 6-1.

It was a long night for Ma’Khail Hilliard who drew the start for the Tigers and was less than stellar with his command in the opening innings.

The freshman pitcher walked four batters and hit another two in the first two innings and put runners at first and second with no outs to start the second.

Alabama took the lead off a sac fly from DH Kyle Kaufman and was followed by a two run dart over the left field wall from Cobie Vance that but the Crimson Tide up 3-0

The nightmare inning ended on a deep fly ball to center fielder Zach Watson, leaving LSU with catch up work in a 4-0 deficit.  Hilliard would go one more inning before placed by Cam Sanders to start the fourth.

Hilliard allowed five runs on four hits and five walks in three innings of play.

“Normally Ma’Khail has really good command but tonight he was off,” Mainieri said. “It was a rough start to him and their pitcher threw a lot of strikes.”

In dire need of some offense, junior Antoine Duplantis put LSU in a good spot with a double to start the fourth.  Two batters later, DH Daniel Cabrera brought home Duplantis with an RBI single to cut the Bama lead to 5-1.

The LSU bats couldn’t wake up though it didn’t help that three times batters hit in double plays, twice from Watson.  It was only fitting that in an all around bad game for the bats, Austin Bain’s 17 game hitting streak come to an end.

“We hit balls pretty hard and instead of getting rewarded for it we get two outs out of it,” Duplantis said.  “We just have to keep grinding out at bats. Tonight things didn’t go our way and we have to wipe this one from our memory.”

The senior went 0-for-4 on the night while the first three batters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-12.

Sanders was a lone bright spot for the Tigers Saturday night with 3.2 shutout innings that kept LSU in the game when the offense wasn’t clicking.

Sanders had to throw 54 pitches in two innings of work, but held Alabama scoreless with four strikeouts including three in the fifth inning alone.  The Crimson Tide batters were completely fooled by Sanders’ offspeed pitches as the JUCO transfer struck out two more in the sixth.

It felt like deja vu in the eighth for the second straight night with LSU putting runners on first and second with two outs.  It was the biggest threat of the night that was eliminated with a routine pop out from Duplantis.

LSU will look to win the series for an afternoon outing on Sunday at 2 p.m. with Nick Bush drawing the start.

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