Evidently, David Perno’s Diamond Dogs, like Kevin Costner’s Durham Bulls, just needed a rain-out to get back on track as a team. Following a Friday night embarrassment and a Saturday afternoon postponement due to inclement weather, the Red and Black took on the 11th-ranked Bayou Bengals in a doubleheader, in which Georgia won both games to take the baseball series from LSU.
Michael Palazzone was credited with the win in the opening outing of the twin bill, surrendering seven hits in as many innings without allowing an earned run. Louisiana State scored one run in the first frame on account of an error by third baseman Curt Powell before plating four more in the third canto due to miscues by second baseman Levi Hyams and Powell.
The Athenians scored all the runs they needed in the second stanza, when the combination of four singles, two doubles, a walk, a hit batsman, and a Tiger error added up to a half-dozen Bulldog runs. The Classic City Canines padded their advantage with a run-scoring single in the third inning, followed by a leadoff home run by first baseman Kevin Ruiz, a double by left fielder Conor Welton, and an RBI sacrifice fly by Hyams in the fifth frame.
Craig Gullickson got the win, and Tyler Maloof carded his eighth save, in a rubber match that saw LSU held scoreless in every inning except the fourth. Center fielder Mikie Mahtook drove a one-out solo home run to left field, after which shortstop Austin Nola dropped a double into center field. The baserunner advanced on an out and came home on an error by shortstop Kyle Farmer. Otherwise, the Pelican State Panthers were held in check.
The Diamond Dogs, on the other hand, got on the board early, starting with Hyams’s leadoff single in the bottom of the first frame. A one-out base hit by Farmer moved the Red and Black infielder over to third, allowing Hyams to score an unearned run on a wild pitch. The Bulldog second baseman crossed home plate again in the third canto, when two Bayou Bengal errors allowed Hyams to reach base, then to come home. Another unearned run scored on a single by center fielder Zach Cone.
The Classic City Canines carried their 3-2 lead into the top of the seventh stanza, in which a one-out single brought the would-be go-ahead run to the plate. The next two LSU batters popped up and grounded out, however.
The doubleheader was not pretty---the two teams combined for nine errors in 13 innings---but, after winning on Friday and blowing the next two games to lose the series last weekend, the Diamond Dogs reversed that trend by falling in the first outing and rebounding to sweep both contests on Sunday. Georgia outscored Louisiana State 12-7, and the Bulldogs out-hit the Tigers 16-15, in the twin bill, snapping a four-game losing streak to improve to 11-13 overall and get back to .500 in SEC play. Winning ugly may not constitute an encouraging sign, but it’s still winning; given the alternative, I’ll take it.