HOOVER, Ala. — LSU played all the innings it wanted in its 6-5, 17 inning loss to Mississippi State Wednesday night.
So the Tigers took an easier route Friday night with a 12-2 run-rule victory over the Bulldogs in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
"It was exactly the way we drew it up and expected it to happen," joked LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We're going up against a first round pick [JT Ginn] who's turned down $3 million to come to school and frankly we're pitching guys that didn't pitch a lot during the course of the year. You gotta love our matchup there."
LSU knew it was working with a limited bullpen and would need to work on offense to put up a fight against the Bulldogs. The Tigers did exactly that, with a five-run third inning and seven-run fourth inning to lead them to a 12-2 win over Mississippi State.
Both teams were scoreless through the first two innings, until LSU broke it open. The Tigers scored five runs on four hits in the top of the third inning to take the lead over Mississippi State early.
"The first six at bats that we had tonight were about as non-competitive at bats that you can have," Mainieri said. "[Ginn] went right through us the first two innings. We couldn't even get a sniff. Then all of a sudden in the third inning, we got a couple of big hits."
Senior infielder Chris Reid said the LSU batters made their adjustments at the plate the second time around the order in order to produce quality at bats.
Reid led off with a single to get things going and Brandt Broussard followed up with an RBI double to score Reid from first as he showed off his speed.
Mainieri joked that he thinks Reid "popped a tire" running the bases.
Four more LSU RBIs and a bases loaded walk from Zach Watson would be all for the Tigers in the third.
"I through Broussard's double loosened everybody up and after that we just got a lot of big hits and got a big enough lead that as long as we threw strikes, I though we had a chance to hold them down," Mainieri said.
LSU picked up where they left off in the fourth inning, scoring seven runs and six coming with two outs. Six Tigers recorded RBIs in the fourth inning.
After going 2-for-17 in LSU's first three games of the SEC Tournament, sophomore outfielder Daniel Cabrera went 2-for-3 on the day with an RBI to contribute to LSU's offensive explosion.
LSU survived with the pitching it did have. The Mississippi State offense did not have an extra base hit all game.
Starting right-hander Clay Moffitt went 2.1 innings, allowing two runs on one hit in his first career SEC start. Right-hander Aaron George relieved him, going 2.2 innings and allowing no earned runs.
Right-hander Chase Costello finished the game off for the Tigers, allowing one hit through two shutout innings.
Mainieri said he was never shocked at his team's resilience and their ability to come out hot in Hoover. The Tigers battled to avoid elimination and advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
"Anything is possible," Mainieri said. "If you're around baseball long enough, anything is possible. Unfortunately that works against you sometimes, too. So you have to enjoy the ones that you get. We're going to enjoy this one for a little while."