Defensive struggles cost No. 3 LSU baseball its game against Baylor in Shriners Classic | LSU

HOUSTON — LSU right-hander Paul Gervase seemed to provide the consistency the Tigers’ needed from the mound on Sunday night, until a home run by Baylor’s Jack Pineda drove a dagger through the heart of the defense in the bottom of the sixth.

Gervase’s shoulders sulked, and his head dropped as he exited the huddle on the mound as he was pulled from the game. He gave low-fives to his teammates, who patted his back.

He’d shelve the loss after 2⅓ innings of work, allowing three earned runs on three hits with four strikeouts as No. 3 LSU (9-3) dropped its second game on the weekend in the final of the Shriners Children’s College Classic to Baylor 9-6.

“Paul did a great job, we wouldn’t have even been in position to win if it wasn’t for him,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said.

Right-hander Eric Reyzelman relieved Gervase, striking out the final batter of the sixth inning. He’d do the same in the seventh after errors behind him allowed Baylor to load the bases.

But LSU wasn’t able to escape its errors in the eighth when the Bears scored their final two runs.

no. 3 LSU entered the this weekend’s Shriners Classic batting .354 through nine games. But the tournament would be the Tigers’ first test agai…

Down 9-5 in the top of the ninth, Jacob Berry knocked a solo homer and both Cade Doughty and Brayden Jobert reached base on an error and a single, but Jordan Thompson and Josh Stevenson each struck out looking for the final two outs, summoning a rush of gold and green out of the opposing dugout.

“We’re never out of the fight, no matter who we play, no matter where we go, no matter where we’re at,” left-fielder Gavin Dugas said. “We’re always going to be in the game.”

The Tigers were off to a good start in the first.

Tre’ Morgan hit a bouncing double down the left-field line before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Dylan Crews then walked and Berry doubled inside the right field line to bring home Morgan. Crews scored to put the Tigers up 2-0 on a sac fly by Doughty, who had moved to the fourth batting spot after being in the three-hole all weekend.

Baylor’s Pineda led off with a single in the first just as Morgan had and, after advancing on a single and a pop out, came home of a Kyle Nevin sac fly.

Pineda went 2 for 5 with two RBIs in the game while Nevin had three RBIs with two sacrifices in his 1-for-3 night.

LSU started with true freshman Grant Taylor on the mound, but made a pitching change after the Bears dinged him for two hits and an earned run through the first two innings.

Left-hander Riley Cooper came on in the third, but Pineda reached first when third baseman Jack Merrifield’s throw skipped in the dirt past Morgan. That was the first of five LSU errors in the game, and it came back to haunt the Tigers after a groundout moved Pineda into scoring position and a single by Nevin scored him. A flyout added another score for the Bears, putting them ahead 3-2.

Brayden Jobert and Thompson drew walks to open the fourth, each moving up on a balk by Baylor pitcher Will Rigney. Dugas lined a single up the middle to bring both home for a 4-3 LSU lead.

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Errors keep popping up for the LSU baseball team, despite early success

HOUSTON — The first run Oklahoma scored against No. 3 LSU on Friday night was off of an error.

Baylor changed pitchers to left-hander Matt Voelker after right-hander Will Rigney went 3⅔ innings, allowed three hits, walked three and struck out four. Voelker inherited one runner who scored to give Rigney his fifth earned runs after Morgan lined another double down the left-field line to bring home Dugas for a 5-3 lead.

But the Bears capitalized on the Tigers’ defensive mistakes in the fourth inning.

Baylor’s Cortlan Castle shot a fly ball right field, but as it dipped, Berry couldn’t get the timing right, falling forward just before the ball bounced past him for an RBI triple. That narrowed LSU’s lead to 5-4.

That runner – while on a play ruled a single – had reached base on a sac bunt, which was picked up and overthrown by left-hander Riley Cooper, who had entered the game for Taylor.

That was enough to call right-hander Paul Gervase from the bullpen, who struck out two batters to close the inning.

The fifth inning went quietly behind Gervase’s pitching.

LSU had a chance to extend its lead in the top of the sixth, but left the bases loaded after Voelker walked one and hit both Dugas and Morgan.

Baylor then lit it up in the bottom of the sixth.

A pair of singles put runners at the corners with one out, then Castle drove in a run on a fielder’s choice. With Castle on first, Pineda’s two-run home run that followed tallied a 7-5 lead.

Berry, who started at right field, moved to third base in the eighth inning. Collier Cranford had gone in for Josh Pearson in the bottom of the fourth, who had pinch-hit for Jack Merrifield. Merrifield started at third base.

Three fielding errors in the bottom of the seventh threatened the Tigers with a larger deficit. Thompson dropped a ground ball, then Doughty dropped a line drive on the next play and failed to connect with Morgan for the out. That allowed two runners to stay on base. After walking the next batter, right-hander Eric Reyzelman closed the inning with a strikeout.

Devin Fontenot came on in relief in the eighth inning, but LSU’s defensive miscues kept piling up as Baylor added two more runs to make it 9-5. Berry’s home run in the ninth closed the scoring.

“We have to play better catch, like I don’t know any other way to say it,” Johnson said, “So, we’ll continue to work on that.”

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