HOOVER, Ala. — LSU's Hoover magic finally ran out.
After a crazy first four days of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, the Tigers fell to Vanderbilt 13-4 in the semifinal game.
"We're not going to let this one day take away from what we did this week," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We had three pretty remarkable days in a row. We lost a 17 inning game, but I include that in there because we fought so hard for so long.
"We're very proud of our guys, but of course there's bitterness when you don't hold up the trophy at the end of the week."
Both teams went scoreless in the first inning and it seemed like LSU would hold it's own against one of the top teams in the nation. But things started going downhill for the Tigers in the top of the second inning.
LSU pitcher Devin Fontenot allowed a walk and a single to start the inning. Back-to-back RBI singles and a Daniel Cabrera throwing error put Vanderbilt up 3-0.
Mainieri said that Fontenot couldn't find his slider and the Commodores took advantage of his using just one pitch for the majority of his outing.
Mainieri said that before the game, veteran pitchers Zack Hess, Matt Beck and Eric Walker asked him to pitch if necessary.
As Vanderbilt continued to tack on runs the next few innings, LSU went to right-hander Eric Walker in the third inning, who gave up a leadoff solo home run. When Walker loaded the bases, LSU went to its third pitcher of the game — freshman right-hander Will Ripoll.
"Once the score go to be what it was early there, there was no use using [Zack] Hess or [Matt] Beck," Mainieri said. "We gave the young kids a chance to pitch. I though they actually did okay."
Ripoll walked in a run before forcing a fly out to end the inning. He recorded four strikeouts in the fourth inning, but the first of them reached on a wild pitch. He gave up a two-run home run before striking out the following two batters and ending the inning with Vanderbilt leading 7-0.
LSU finally got on the board in the bottom half of the fifth inning.
The Tigers started the inning with back-to-back singles from Saul Garza and Chris Reid. Hal Hughes brought Reid home on a fielder's choice as the Tigers still trailed 7-1.
A six-run sixth inning for the Commodores finally put the game out of reach for LSU.
LSU would go down without a fight, as the Tigers scored three runs on two hits in the bottom half of the sixth inning, but could not do much more than that as they fell 13-4 in a full nine innings.
Senior right fielder Antoine Duplantis and sophomore catcher Saul Garza led the Tigers at the plate against the Commodores, with Duplantis going 2-for-4 and Garza going 2-for-2.
Mainieri said that LSU wouldn't have won the games they did this week without Garza both at the plate and catching behind it.
The Tigers now head home to Baton Rouge with what is most likely a NCAA Regional hosting bid secured, which wasn't a given before this week. Mainieri said he feels great about the team coming out of this week and heading into postseason, whether it's in Baton Rouge or elsewhere.
"I think just looking at those wins and looking at how hard we fought, even that game that we lost against Mississippi State, that just sets us up for positive momentum to the postseason," Duplantis said.