HOOVER, Ala. (WAFB) - In the longest game in SEC Tournament history, LSU could not stop Mississippi State from scoring in the bottom of the 17th inning and dropped to the loser’s bracket.
The Tigers (35-23, 17-13 SEC) fell 6-5 to the Bulldogs (45-11, 20-10 SEC) in a game that lasted six hours, 43 minutes. It was also the longest game in LSU baseball history. It is also tied for the most innings in SEC Tournament history. Mississippi State vs. Missouri in 2013 and Arkansas vs. Auburn in 1994 also lasted 17 innings.
Eric Walker started on the mound for LSU and struggled but the damage could have been a lot worse a few times. He gave up four runs on six hits in four innings of work. He struck out one batter and walked four others. He also hit three batters.
Matthew Beck relieved Walker and fared much better. He allowed three hits but no runs in four innings of work. He also struck out three batters.
Zack Hess entered in the bottom of the ninth to close out the game. His pitches started out wild, but he was able to regain control and strike out two batters, forcing extra innings. He gave up four hits in four innings and struck out five batters.
Ma’Khail Hilliard entered the game in the bottom of the 13th and struck out the first two batters he faced. He went on to strike out six others in 4.2 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and suffered the loss. He dropped to 0-4 on the season.
Mississippi State jumped on Walker in the first inning. After the first batter hit a single up the middle, the second batter was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second. A double to right field sent one run home. A walk loaded the bases with no outs. Then, a sac fly to deep right field scored another run to give the Bulldogs the 2-0 lead. LSU made it out of the inning when the next batter hit into a double play.
In the second inning, with a runner on second and two outs, LSU intentionally walked MSU lead-off hitter Jake Mangum. However, the next batter ripped a single to center field to move another runner across home plate for the Bulldogs to make it 3-0.
In the bottom of the third, with one out and the bases loaded, Walker hit the batter to send a run home to put MSU up 4-0. Just like in the first inning, the Tigers kept the damage at a minimal with a double play on a line shot to shortstop.
LSU got on the board in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded and one out, Mississippi State brought in a new pitcher. He walked Antoine Duplantis, which scored Saul Garza. Next, Cade Beloso hit a sac fly to left field, which plated Brandt Broussard to make it 4-2.
In the top of the eighth, Giovanni DiGiacomo blasted a two-run shot over the left field wall. It was the first home run of his career and tied the game at 4-4.
Then, in the top of the 16th with the bases loaded and one out, DiGiacomo came through again for LSU. A sac fly to left field allowed Duplantis to safely slide home to give the Tigers the 5-4 lead.
However, in the bottom of the inning with runners on first and third, a fielding error on a hit to second base plated a run for the Bulldogs to tie it at 5-5 and the epic matchup continued.
Then, in the bottom of the 17th, a single up the middle with runners on first and second resulted in the game-winning score for Mississippi State.
LSU will face Auburn around 12:30 p.m. Thursday.