After grabbing the momentum late in the game Saturday night, a weather delay forced a game two finish and the Tigers couldn't put the Volunteers away, losing 9-8 and dropping a second consecutive SEC series.
LSU (16-7, 1-4) had it's opportunity to put the game away in the ninth holding onto an 8-7 lead but relief pitcher Ty Floyd allowed a pair of doubles to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, on a 1-2 count. From there, the offense, which had found a groove late Saturday just couldn't get home, a theme throughout the entire game. A Drew Gilbert walk off home run in the bottom of the eleventh was enough to put the nail in LSU's coffin.
For six innings of play, LSU's game two performance could be best defined by missed opportunities. The Tigers had swung the bat well but just weren't able to bring guys in, leaving nine on base and striking out 11 times.
It all started with a seventh inning rally with the Tigers in a 7-3 hole and the top of the order due up. The freshman duo of Dylan Crews and Tre' Morgan used back-to-back doubles to start the comeback.
Morgan was sensational on Saturday, going 5-for-6 with a home run and two RBI to lead the way. The fast start to the seventh would set LSU up in a bases loaded situation for much of the inning but one where only two total runs would come across, making it a 7-5 game.
Then in the eighth, a few of LSU's best hitters came through at the opportune time. Crews knocked a solo home run to centerfield, his second hit of the night and Cade Doughty followed with a single, setting up a go-ahead two run home run for Gavin Dugas.
Dugas has proved time and time again to be the clutch hitter this team has needed but Saturday night's swing was probably the most important of the season. It was perfect timing for the LSU offense to get rolling as the Tigers had to pick up a struggling pitching staff, starting with Jaden Hill.
Hill's first performance as a Saturday starter was a struggle as he did surrender two home runs in the game to Tennessee nine hole hitter Evan Russell for a total of four runs. The junior starter found himself behind in counts far too often and tried to rely on his fastball to get him out of trouble.
The command was completely lost in the fifth inning as one of the home runs from Russell was wedged in between four walks from Hill that ran him out of the game. Russell, who came into Saturday's game batting .154, would knock three home runs off of the LSU pitching.
LSU's starter would go four innings, allow six runs with six strikeouts and four walks, all coming in the fifth inning.
That's where the game really turned against the Tigers as they entered with a 3-2 lead and by the end of the inning, found themselves trailing 6-3. Relief pitcher Ma'Khail Hilliard would inherit a bases loaded situation with no outs and wound up hitting a batter and walking another to help Tennessee add on some insurance runs.
Hilliard and fellow reliever Ty Floyd after the fifth inning, did a nice job of holding the Volunteers offense in check while the Tigers' offense picked it up but couldn't follow through on Sunday morning.
LSU will hope to avoid a sweep in a few minutes with AJ Labas on the mound.
Photo courtesy of LSUsports.