BATON ROUGE, LA. (USC SID) – Antoine Duplantis’ one-out RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted 11th ranked LSU to a 7-6 win over 25th ranked South Carolina on Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium in the rubber game of the weekend series. The Gamecocks are 27-19 and 11-13 in the SEC with LSU 32-16 and 15-9 in league play.
In a back-and-forth ballgame, Carolina nearly grabbed a one-run lead in the top of the 10th inning. With Matt Williams on first base after a one-out walk, Jacob Olson belted a double to the wall in left field. Williams looked to score from first on the play but LSU would put together a successful 7-6-2 relay with catcher Michael Papierski’s tag just in time before Williams’ hand reached home plate on the slide. The Tigers won it in the bottom of the 10th putting a pair of runners on base with one out. Zach Watson led off with an infield single and after being sacrificed into scoring position moved over to third base on a fielding error. With runners on the corners Duplantis knocked his fifth hit of the game into left field for a base hit to win the game for the Tigers.
LSU right-hander Zack Hess earned the win in relief with 1.1 scoreless innings of work. South Carolina right-hander Tyler Johnson suffered the loss and is now 0-2 for the season. He allowed two runs on four hits in 1.1 innings of work.
South Carolina got out of the gates fast with a run in the top of the first inning. TJ Hopkins and LT Tolbert each singled to open the frame with Jonah Bride driving in Hopkins with a one-out RBI groundout to short.
LSU would answer with a pair of runs in the second inning to take a 2-1 lead. Josh Smith drew a one-out walk followed by a single to left field off the bat of Beau Jordan to give the Tigers a pair of runners. Michael Papierski knocked a 3-2 pitch from Scott into right field for a RBI single to score Smith. A fielder’s choice from Zach Watson would score Jordan and give LSU a one-run lead. Jordan would factor in LSU’s third run of the game as he doubled with one out to right field in the bottom of the fourth, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch to increase the Tigers advantage to 3-1.
Carolina regained the lead in the fifth inning as they touched up Eric Walker for four runs to take a 5-3 lead. Hopkins got things started in the frame with a double to the gap in left-center. Tolbert would drive in Hopkins with a RBI single to left field. Carlos Cortes would reach base with a base hit to right field. With two outs and runners on first and second base, Alex Destino came up with the biggest hit as he launched a 3-2 pitch into the bleachers in right field for his team-leading eighth home run of the season.
LSU responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut Carolina’s lead to a run. Kramer Robertson led off with a single, Antoine Duplantis singled with one out and Robertson scored on Greg Deichamnn’s RBI single to right field. The Gamecocks limited the damage though and maintained the lead as Jacob Olson came up with a big throw and assist from right field as Duplantis tried to score on a flyout. Olson’s throw was on the money to Gamecock catcher John Jones to preserve the 5-4 lead for Carolina.
LSU tied it at 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs and runners on first and third, Zach Watson knocked a grounder to Madison Stokes. Charging in on the play Stokes fired over to first base, but it was ruled that South Carolina first baseman Matt Williams’ foot was not on the bag and Papierski scored to tie the game.
Both teams would trade runs in the ninth inning. Jacob Olson led off the ninth with a hit by pitch and was sacrificed over to second on a bunt by Justin Row. A walk to Stokes and an infield single by TJ Hopkins loaded the bases with one out. Tolbert would drive in Olson with a sacrifice fly to right-center giving the Gamecocks a one-run lead. LSU answered in their bottom half to tie the game. Cole Freeman was hit by a pitch followed by a single by Duplantis. Deichmann would drive in Freeman with a base hit to left-center. After LSU loaded the bases with one out, Carolina right-hander Tyler Johnson dug deep and preserved the tie as he struck out Jordan and induced a popup off the bat of Papierski to send the game into extra innings.
An infield single by Watson in the bottom of the eighth inning tied the game up at 5-5 as it was ruled that Matt Williams’ foot was not on the base after the throw over to first base by Madison Stokes.
LSU out-hit South Carolina 17-9 in the contest with five players with multi-hit games.
Sunday marked senior right-hander Reed Scott’s 84th career appearance and ninth career start for the Gamecocks. It was his first start since April 21, 2015 at Furman and his second career start vs. a SEC opponent. Scott’s only other SEC start was vs. Georgia on March 28, 2015. Scott allowed four runs on seven hits in four-plus innings of work.
Senior left-hander Josh Reagan was effective in relief. He allowed just one run on five hits in 3.2 innings of work.
Hopkins led Carolina at the plate going 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Tolbert was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI with Cortes 2-for-4 with a run scored.
QUOTABLE FROM HEAD COACH CHAD HOLBROOK
“It was a great college game and our kids deserve a better fate. That being said, their kids played hard too. They had 17 hits and we had nine and they did a little bit more offensively than us. We made some great defensive plays and gave ourselves a chance to win and a couple of things in the game didn’t go our way.”
South Carolina returns home to host Presbyterian on Tuesday night. First pitch is 7 p.m. at Founders Park. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”