LSU baseball: Bullpen gets bludgeoned in loss to Missouri

BATON ROUGE, La. — Saturday night couldn’t have gone much worse for the LSU baseball bullpen.

Despite a solid outing from starting pitcher Caleb Gilbert, the LSU bullpen couldn’t keep the game close, as LSU lost to Missouri 12-6 on Saturday.  With the loss, No. 16 LSU dropped to 13-7, 1-1 SEC, while No. 24 Missouri improved to 15-4.

Gilbert flirted with disaster all game, putting at least one runner on base in every inning he pitched and having to deal with runners in scoring position in his last four innings pitched. But the junior dealt with the threats well, stranding six runners on base in the first four innings of the game, four of which in scoring position.

RELATED: LSU holds off Missouri for first SEC win

In the fifth inning, Gilbert looked poised to continue the trend. He worked Misssouri cleanup hitter Brett Bond to a full count with 2 outs and a runner on second, but Bond won on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, teeing off for his second home run of 2018 to give Missouri a 2-1 lead.

Devin Fontenot pitched the sixth and seventh innings in relief of Gilbert, setting down all six of the batters he faced in order. But after allowing a leadoff double in the eighth inning, Fontenot exited and LSU’s bullpen became a revolving door of walks. Matthew Beck, Taylor Petersen, Todd Peterson, Cam Sanders and Trent Vietmeier all pitched in the frame as LSU allowed 8 runs on 6 walks, 3 hits, an error and a hit-by-pitch.

As for the hitting…

LSU struggled to find a rhythm against Missouri starter Michael Plassmeyer. Coming into Saturday, LSU ranked No. 1 in the SEC at avoiding strikeouts, but Plassmeyer had his K pitch going from the start, as he fanned 5 Tigers in the first two innings and 8  overall. Of the five hits LSU mustered off Plassmeyer, only three left the infield.

LSU’s best offensive opportunity came in the fourth inning. Behind a leadoff single from right fielder Antoine Duplantis and a walk one at-bat later from first baseman Austin Bain, LSU had runners on first and second with no one out. The Tigers squeezed one run out of the situation thanks to a sacrifice bunt from catcher Hunter Feduccia to move the runners and a sacrifice fly from left fielder Beau Jordan to score Duplantis. But trading two outs for a run ended LSU’s threat, as designated hitter Bryce Jordan followed his twin with a groundout to shortstop to end the inning.

Pinch hitter Jake Slaughter homered off Plassmeyer to lead off the eighth inning and end the left-hander’s day. Centerfielder Zach Watson added a home run two batters later to give LSU’s its third run of the evening. For both Slaughter and Watson, the home runs were their second of 2018.

Choosing against letting the game end in a blowout, LSU added three more runs in the bottom of the ninth inning off a double from Bryce Jordan, an RBI groundout from Daniel Cabrera and a double by Watson.

Box score

What’s next for LSU baseball?

LSU baseball returns to The Box on Sunday for the third game of this three-game series against Missouri. Action is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. CT and will be available to watch online through WatchESPN.

The post LSU baseball: Bullpen gets bludgeoned in loss to Missouri appeared first on SEC Country.

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