HOOVER, Ala. — LSU put up a long, hard fight, but it ultimately fell to Mississippi State 6-5 in 17 innings Wednesday night.
The Tigers overcame a 4-0 deficit after a two-run home run from freshman outfielder Giovanni DiGiacomo tied the game in the eighth inning, but a walk off RBI single from Bulldog infielder Gunner Halter ended the Tigers' chances as Mississippi State won 6-5 in the bottom of the 17th.
"That was insane," DiGiacomo said. "I don't think I've ever been a part of a game that's been that long. It's crazy how neither team quit. We raked it out and kept pushing."
The LSU bullpen pitched 12 shutout innings, but the offense failed to produce with runners in scoring position.
LSU looked to be on its way to its second come-from-behind victory of the week when junior shortstop Josh Smith lead off the game with a ground rule double after just three pitches, but the next three batters were sat down in order with two strikeouts and a groundout and a long game ahead for the Tigers.
LSU starting right-hander Eric Walker — who entered the game with a 4.86 ERA — struggled throughout his outing.
Through the first three batters of the game, Walker gave up a lead-off single, hit a battle and a RBI double. Walker then walked the bases loaded and gave up a sacrifice fly to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead, but the Tigers got out of the inning with minimal damage after a 4-6-3 double play.
Walker gave up another lead off hit in the second inning, this time a double. LSU then intentionally walked Mississippi State slugger Jake Mangum, but infielder Jordan Westburg hit an RBI single to extend State's lead to 3-0.
Mississippi State added one more in the fourth after Walker walked the lead off batter and gave up back-to-back singles. He hit a batter with the bases loaded to extend State's lead to 4-0.
LSU finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning after a double from catcher Saul Garza and single from second baseman Brandt Broussard.
Junior right-hander Matthew Beck came in to pitch for walk in the bottom half of the fifth. In four innings, Beck allowed no runs on three hits with three strikeouts.
Back-to-back walks from Smith and senior right fielder Antoine Duplantis scored one run and a sacrifice fly from freshman first baseman Cade Beloso cut Mississippi State's lead to 4-2.
The top of the eight inning was a good time for DiGiacomo to hit his first career home run.
With a runner on and no outs, DiGiacomo hit a bomb over the right field fence to tie LSU's game against Mississippi State at 4-4 and would eventually send the game to extra innings.
LSU coach Paul Mainieri said he "had a vision" of DiGiocomo would hit a home run when he put him in the game.
Both teams went scoreless from the ninth through the 15th inning until LSU broke it open.
Junior right-hander Zack Hess pitched phenomenally in relief and into extra innings. He pitched four innings, allowing no runs on four hits and five strikeouts. Hess also stranded seven runners on base during his outing.
DiGiacomo would also drive in the go ahead run in the top of the 16th inning. A sacrifice fly to deep left field with the bases loaded gave LSU a 5-4 lead going into the bottom half of the inning.
Mississippi State tied the game with back-to-back singles off Hilliard and a fielding error to make it 5-5 in the bottom of the 16th inning.
Freshman right-hander Ma'Khail Hilliard had two straight strikeouts in the bottom of the 16th, but both runners reached first base when catcher Brock Mathis dropped the third strike.
Halter's RBI single ended the game with a 6-5 Mississippi State win.
"It's kind of hard to put into words what we just played through," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "There have been more memorable days of my coaching career and probably in LSU baseball history. We played 17 innings and had a chance to win it and then not be able to hold the lead.
"It's a shame either team had to lose. Neither team wanted to lose and a lot of guy were out there putting it all out on the field. They laid it out on the line, one guy after another."