Miss. State bounces LSU from SEC Tournament

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by LSU Sports Information

wwltv.com

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Updated Friday, May 25 at 10:30 PM

HOOVER, Ala. – Second baseman Matthew Britton’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday lifted No. 21 Mississippi State to a 4-3 win over second-ranked LSU in the SEC Tournament at Regions Park.

Mississippi State (37-21) advances to the tournament semifinals, where the Bulldogs will face Kentucky at Noon CT Saturday. LSU (43-16), the 2012 SEC champion, was eliminated from the tournament with Friday’s loss.

The Tigers will await word from the NCAA Baseball Selection Committee, which will announce the 16 regional sites on Sunday afternoon and the entire 64-team field – including the eight national seeds – at 11 a.m. Monday on ESPNU.

“This is a tough loss, but it’s one we can learn from as we go forward in the postseason,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It hurts right now because the game didn’t go the way we had hoped, but that’s how baseball is sometimes. As they have all season, our players competed extremely hard, but we just fell short today. It’s been a tremendous year for our team, and now we have the opportunity to make it a very special season. We’ve got time to regroup and start preparing for the NCAA Tournament.”

Trailing 3-1, Mississippi State scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against LSU closer Nick Goody to send the contest into extra innings.

First baseman Wes Rea led off the MSU ninth with a double down the right-field line. Britton was inserted as a pinch runner for Rea at second base before Goody struck out second baseman Sam Frost for the first out.

However, third baseman Daryl Norris singled to send Britton to third, and shortstop Adam Frazier singled to score Britton and reduce LSU’s lead to 3-2. Brent Brownlee, pinch running for Norris, moved to third on Frazier’s hit.

Goody hit rightfielder Tyler Fullerton with a pitch, and designated hitter Luis Pollorena lined a sacrifice fly to center to score Brownlee with the tying run. Goody retired centerfielder Hunter Renfroe on a fly ball to end the inning.

Mississippi State reliever Jonathan Holder held the Tigers scoreless in the top of the 10th, setting the stage for the Bulldogs’ final at-bat. Goody retired leftfielder Demarcus Henderson on a grounder to short to start the inning, but catcher Mitch Slauter doubled to center field.

Nick Rumbelow relieved Goody, but Britton lined a Rumbelow pitch to right-center to score Slauter with the winning run.

LSU grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when designated hitter Ty Ross delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded, scoring shortstop Austin Nola and rightfielder Mason Katz.

The Tigers added a run in the second when second baseman JaCoby Jones singled, moved from first to third on a groundout by centerfielder Arby Fields and scored on Nola’s grounder to short.

LSU, however, could not expand the lead against MSU starter Jacob Lindgren and relievers Caleb Reed and Ross Mitchell. Reed worked 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing three hits with two walks and no strikeouts.

The Bulldogs scored a run in the eighth against LSU reliever Chris Cotton when Renfroe delivered an RBI single, narrowing the deficit to 3-1.

LSU starter Ryan Eades fired six scoreless innings, limiting the Bulldogs to four hits with four walks and one strikeout.

Holder (2-0) was credited with the win after pitching a scoreless 10th with one strikeout. Goody (1-2) was charged with the loss as he gave up three runs on four hits in 1.1 innings with no walks and one strikeout.

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