On Friday night, the Diamond Dogs maintained a narrow lead for most of the game but failed to pull away before LSU scored late to claim the victory. The second verse proved to be the same as the first on Saturday evening, when Georgia held a 4-2 lead after seven and a half stanzas before falling, 8-4, in Baton Rouge.
The Bulldogs began the proceedings with a bang when third baseman Curt Powell led off the first inning with a home run. Subsequently, shortstop Kyle Farmer sent a one-out single into center field, advanced to third on a fielding error and a throwing error, and came home on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Conor Welton. Unfortunately, the Tigers tied it up in the bottom of the canto on a single, a stolen base, a double, another single, and a sacrifice fly.
Following a second inning in which the Red and Black stranded designated hitter Brett DeLoach on third, Georgia tacked on two more with two outs away in the third frame. After being plunked, Welton swiped second and came home on a base hit by center fielder Peter Verdin. A throwing error moved the baserunner over to third, enabling DeLoach to bring him home on a single.
The Diamond Dogs left a man on third in the fifth stanza and stranded two in scoring position in the sixth inning, which allowed the Bayou Bengals to remain within striking distance heading into the home half of the eighth canto. Louisiana State loaded the bases on a pair of doubles and a hit batsman before bashing a grand slam to left field to transform the Athenians’ two-run lead into a two-run deficit.
The next batter sent one over the fence, as well, to make it 7-4, and the hits just kept on coming, as a double, a wild pitch, and a throwing error generated another Tiger run. In the top of the ninth frame, the Classic City Canines went quietly on three straight strikeouts to close out a disturbing replay of the previous evening’s meltdown.
To make matters worse, Michael Palazzone contributed four innings and Pete Nagel gave three, while closer Blake Dieterich faced seven batters, gave up two home runs and a double, plunked a guy, and conceded four earned runs. To whom, precisely, does David Perno intend to turn to pitch Sunday’s finale, given the arms that already have been expended in a losing cause in the first two games?