LSU Baseball vs University of Alabama

LSU fresbman pitcher Caleb Gilbert (41) pitches during LSU's 7-5 victory against the University of Alabama on Sunday, March 20, 2016 at Aleb Box Stadium

Looking to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals, LSU came up short on Monday, losing to Rice 10-6. As a result of the LSU (44-19) loss, a winner-take-all game will be played Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Fresh off a 15-0 shellacking against Southeastern, the Owls (38-23) rolled into a do-or-die matchup against LSU with momentum and confidence.

“We’re alive and happy to be here,” said Wayne Graham, the 80 year-old coach for Rice.

LSU freshman pitcher Caleb Gilbert didn’t have his best stuff on Monday. After he gave up four hits and three earned runs, the Tigers found themselves in a 3-0 deficit. Mainieri quickly pulled Gilbert, but his bullpen wasn't’ able to subside the damage. Four relief pitchers combined to give up nine hits and seven earned runs.

“Caleb [Gilbert] had trouble getting his breaking ball over the plate,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “I was just trying to get some pitchers to get somebody out. Tonight we just had a tough time doing that.”

A two-run home run by junior shortstop Kramer Robertson would start an LSU rally in the top of the fifth, cutting the Owls lead to 4-3. Then, four straight walks by the Rice pitching staff tied the score at 4-4.

After trailing for most the game, it seemed as if LSU was in prime position to pull off another big come-from-behind win, with more than 10,000 Tiger Faithful cheering them on.

Rice would respond with three runs in the bottom of the fifth and send out sophomore reliever Glenn Otto to shut down any hopes of another LSU rally. Otto’s curveball stifled the Tigers during his four innings of work.

Again with LSU at-bat in the top of the seventh, noise levels at Alex Box Stadium grew to almost deafening levels, but Otto and his curveball fanned three Tigers, helping the Owls put the game out reach.

“I’ve been in there before, not quite with that crowd,” Otto said. “The fans do a great job here. You just kind of drawn as much out as you can.”

Robertson added: “I guess the guy has a rubber arm because he had good stuff again today. Obviously he’s got a good breaking ball, and he was able to throw it for strikes and get ahead with it and keep us off balance.”

A telling stat for the LSU offense was its 5-for-22 hitting performance with runners on base. Each inning LSU put a runner on base, but wasn’t able to convert those hits into runs. When the opportunity presented itself, LSU was 0-for-3 with the bases loaded and stranded a total of 10 runners on the basepath.

“We had a couple of tough breaks early offensively that kept us from scoring some runs,” Mainieri said. “Hopefully tomorrow night will be a different story.”

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