LSU baseball team settles for 2-2 tie with Georgia

Give this tie to the pen.

For the base-runners and hitters, it felt more like a loss.

A group of five LSU relievers pitched more than 12 scoreless innings, but LSU and Georgia fought 13 innings to a 2-2 draw Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium for the Tigers’ first tie in nearly six years.

The game, which started at noon, had a 3:45 p.m. curfew because Georgia had to catch a flight out of New Orleans. No inning could start after that time.

LSU (20-4-1, 3-2-1 Southeastern Conference) stranded 17 batters, was 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and had a slew of base-running blunders.

The Tigers tied for the first time since a 10-10 draw with Georgia in 2008.

“Don’t even know how to feel,” reliever Zac Person said. “It’s not a win, and when you have a team as competitive as this one, it kind of feels like a loss.”

“It’s not much better than a loss,” right fielder Mark Laird said.

The base-running woes had coach Paul Mainieri red-eyed and frustrated afterward.

He said Laird, in the seventh, and freshman Dakota Dean, in the 13th, should have both come home from third base.

“It’s a game we should have won,” said Mainieri, whose team clinched the series with Saturday’s 2-1 victory. “We had several chances to win the game. Shot ourselves in the foot several times with base-running mistakes.”

That aside, LSU got solid season-long outings out of relievers Person, Parker Bugg and Henri Faucheux after starter Kurt McCune lasted just five outs.

Georgia (14-10-1, 1-4-1) got its two runs in the first inning off McCune. Starting for the first time in nearly a year, he allowed three straight hits to start the game. He was in for Kyle Bouman, who sprained his ankle in practice Monday.

Shortstop Alex Bregman tied the score with an RBI single to right in the seventh, but the Tigers couldn’t get the go-ahead run home despite multiple chances down the stretch.

They were hitless in their last six opportunities with runners in scoring position, had a runner thrown out at the plate in the 12th and left the bases loaded in the 10th and 13th.

“I think it’s called kissing your sister or something like that,” Bregman said of the tie. “It’s not that cool. When guys are on base, we need to drive them in.”

The Tigers get another chance Tuesday at Tulane (12-11).

They stranded six through the first four innings Sunday and had several chances late in an odd affair in front of 4,393 at Alex Box.

The 13th inning started about eight minutes before the drop-dead time of 3:45 p.m., giving each team one last shot. The Tigers had their best opportunity then.

Dean, pinch-hitting, was plunked to start the 13th and moved to second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third on a dribbling bunt from Kramer Robertson.

Georgia then intentionally walked Laird and Bregman to load the bases. Sean McMullen, hitting in the No. 3 hole, lined to left field for the second out, and Dean held at third base.

Dean was supposed to head home on the short liner. There was a miscommunication between Dean and third base coach Will Davis, Mainieri said. Dean thought Davis said, “No” — meaning to hold at third. Davis said, “Go,” according to Mainieri.

“It’s not supposed to be a verbal communication,” Maineri said. “Supposed to be visual communication but, you know, Dakota Dean hasn’t played too much.”

In the seventh, Laird held at third base on a double play that started at first.

“Will explained the whole scenario to him,” Mainieri said. “Freeze on contact. Once they start the double play, then break for the plate. And Mark never broke for the plate.”

Said Laird: “I froze on contact, and it looked like the first baseman may throw it my way. I froze for a second, and my momentum wasn’t going toward the plate. I just never could recover my momentum to go home.”

In the ninth, McMullen hit into a double play with two on base, sending it to extra innings. In the 10th, Georgia walked three, loading the bases with two outs for Robertson. He sent a 2-0 pitch to center field for the final out; Georgia’s Stephen Wrenn had to dive to get the blooper.

The Tigers’ top of the lineup was retired in the 11th, and Christian Ibarra was thrown out at the plate to end the 12th as he tried to advance from second on a dropped grounder by Georgia shortstop Nelson Ward.

“Feel like it was easily a game we should have won,” Mainieri said. “Couldn’t finish the job.”