Late-Inning LSU Rally Comes Up Short, 10-8

POSTED: Sunday, April 5, 2009 - 4:02am

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:58pm

Designated hitter Bryce Massanari and third baseman Colby May combined for six RBI Saturday, and top-ranked Georgia pounded out 18 hits in a 10-8 victory over #2 LSU at Foley Field.

The teams meet in the series finale at 11 a.m. CT Sunday.

Senior right-hander Louis Coleman (6-1) is the Tigers’ projected starter on Sunday, while Georgia will counter with sophomore right-hander Justn Grimm (2-1).

LSU trailed 10-3 through seven innings on Saturday, but the Tigers rallied and had the tying run at the plate when the game ended.

“Georgia has some outstanding hitters, and they had a very good day swinging the bats,” said coach Paul Mainieri, who earned his 100th win at the helm of the LSU program on Friday when his team posted an 8-4 victory over UGA. “I thought our players did a great job of hanging in and still having a chance to win at the end of the game. We’re looking forward to coming out (Sunday) and playing our best with a chance to win the series.”

LSU has won seven consecutive SEC series, dating back to April of last season.

The Tigers opened the scoring Saturday in the first inning when Jared Mitchell launched a solo homer off of UGA starter Alex McRee.

Georgia responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning against LSU starter Austin Ross as designated hitter Bryce Massanari unloaded a three-run homer and third baseman Colby May delivered a sacrifice fly.

LSU narrowed the gap to 4-2 in the third when third baseman Tyler Hanover scored from third on a passed ball charged to UGA catcher Joey Lewis.

The Bulldogs extended the lead to 6-2 as Lewis ripped an RBI double and May added a run-scoring single.

A solo homer in the fourth by LSU catcher Micah Gibbs reduced the deficit to 6-3 before the Bulldogs scored a run in the fifth against reliever Ryan Byrd on May’s fielder’s choice grounder.

An RBI double in the sixth by first baseman Rich Poythress gave UGA an 8-3 lead, and the Bulldogs added two more runs in the seventh as shortstop Levi Hyams lined an RBI double and centerfielder Matt Cerione contributed a sacrifice fly.

LSU, however, rebounded by scoring five runs over the final two innings. The Tigers posted three runs on four hits in the eighth against Georgia reliever Michael Palazzone, as centerfielder Mikie Mahtook chopped an RBI grounder before third baseman Tyler Hanover lined an RBI single.

Hanover later scored on a wild pitch by Palazzone as the Tigers trailed, 10-6.

LSU scored two more runs in the ninth against UGA closer Dean Weaver as Gibbs’s grounder scored first baseman Sean Ochinko from third and second baseman Ryan Schimpf smacked a run-scoring double.

The Tigers brought the tying run to the plate with Schimpf at second and two outs, but Weaver retired Mahtook on a pop fly to first base to end the game.

McRee (3-0) was credited with the win as he limited the Tigers to three runs (two earned) on seven hits in six innings with three walks and three strikeouts.

Ross dropped to 4-3 on the year with the loss, as he was charged with six runs on nine hits in three innings with one walk and three strikeouts.