LSU football may not be the only team on campus that prefers playing at night.
After rallying to win under the lights at Alex Box Stadium on Friday and Saturday, the third-ranked LSU baseball team suffered another afternoon loss in Sunday’s finale.
Georgia’s 5-3 win dropped LSU to 8-8 in day games, including 4-5 in Southeastern Conference day games.
“That’s something I obviously have to address somehow,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “I keep trying to make the guys aware of how important the games are on Sundays or day games after night games. We just don’t seem to play with the same energy and same enthusiasm, and it affects our ability to hit.”
LSU had nine hits Sunday, but only Ty Ross’ homer in the fourth went for extra bases.
The Tigers have now lost three straight day games after losing at Kentucky on back-to-back afternoons last weekend. They haven’t lost a game at night since April 6 at Florida.
The LSU bullpen worked 11 innings over the weekend, allowing only one run. Six different relievers saw action.
“We have so much confidence in them, it’s ridiculous,” Sunday starter Aaron Nola said. “They come through all the time for us.”
The only run the LSU bullpen surrendered in the series came when Kurt McCune gave up a solo homer to Justin Bryan in the eighth. McCune ran into more trouble before Nick Rumbelow came in to retire Curt Powell and leave runners stranded at first and second.
With three weekends to play in the regular season, LSU (35-10, 14-7 Southeastern Conference) finds itself tied with Kentucky and South Carolina for first place in the overall SEC race.
South Carolina (33-11, 14-7) pulled even because the Gamecocks swept Alabama over the weekend. Kentucky (36-9, 14-7) entered the weekend alone in first, but the Wildcats lost consecutive games at Vanderbilt on Saturday and Sunday after winning Friday’s opener.
“I obviously can’t ignore the conference race — I mean, I’m a scoreboard watcher like everybody else,” Mainieri said. “But if you just take care of your own business, things are going to work out the way they should.”
LSU plays at Ole Miss, at home against Vanderbilt and at South Carolina to wrap up the regular season. Kentucky has series remaining at Florida, at home against Alabama and at Mississippi State. South Carolina has trips to Arkansas and Georgia before finishing with LSU at home.
LSU maintains a comfortable lead the West race with Arkansas (31-13, 11-10) trailing by three games.
Bryan clubbed a two-run shot off Nola before going deep off McCune in the eighth, giving him nine hits for the season. Four of those hits have been home runs. ... LSU’s loss Sunday snapped a 14-game home winning streak. The Tigers had not lost at Alex Box Stadium since dropping a 7-1 decision against Mississippi State in a March 18 series finale. ... LSU is now 24-3 in games when the Tigers score first. LSU took a 1-0 lead in Sunday’s first inning and led 2-0 through three innings.
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