USM gives up 4-run lead in the 9th, falls to LSU in 10th
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - For a second consecutive evening at the Hattiesburg Regional, Louisiana State University pulled off a second consecutive late-inning comeback for the books.
In the process Saturday night at Pete Taylor Park, the second-seeded Tigers broke the hearts of University of Southern Mississippi baseball fans.
LSU (40-20) scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, including three times with two outs, to tie the game and then claimed a 7-6 winner’s bracket victory with a run in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Friday night, LSU had mounted a 10-run rally in the eighth inning of its regional opener to erase a seven-run deficit and down Kennesaw State University, 14-11.
Instead of moving into the championship round as the regional’s undefeated team, top-seeded USM (44-17) will face third-seeded Kennesaw (36-27) at 1 p.m. Sunday in an elimination game.
The Owls got past fourth-seeded United States Military Academy, 9-8, earlier Saturday.
Sunday’s USM-Kennesaw winner would then turn around and face LSU in a game scheduled for 6 p.m.
USM seemed in control, with home runs by Will McGillis and Christopher Sargent supporting a strong outing by starting pitcher Hurston Waldrep.
Waldrep allowed a run in the first and then a solo home run to start the second inning. After that, he pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. All told, he allowed two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking two, striking out 11.
USM led 6-2, with five of the runs coming with two outs.
Reliever Landon Harper had helped preserve that lead, coming into the game in the bottom of the eighth inning and needing just one pitch to coax an inning-ending double-play grounder.
Harper got a flyout to open the ninth inning, but then gave up a solo shot to Dylan Crews to cut USM’s lead to 6-3.
After getting another flyout, Harper had LSU down to its last out, but Josh Pearson singled and Cade Doughty followed with a two-run home run to right field to get the Tigers within 6-5.
Harper had Tre Morgan at a 1-2 count, but then hit Morgan with a pitch.
That ended Harper’s night and brought in reliver Garrett Ramsey. After pinch-runner Drew Bianco stole second, Jordan Thompson singled off Ramsey to tie the game.
After USM went 1-2-3 in the top of the 10th inning, LSU loaded the bases with no outs on a single, hit by pitch and walk. USM got one forceout at home plate, but an infield chopper scored the winning run with one out.
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