LSU Tigers drop series finale 10-2

Photo provided by Bill SimmondsLSU coach Paul Mainieri talks with umpires after Mississippi State pitcher Kendall Graveman is warned after he threw the first pitch of the second inning behind  LSU first baseman Mason Katz's head. Katz hit two home runs Saturday night. Mainieri said he thought Graveman should have been ejected. Show caption
Photo provided by Bill SimmondsLSU coach Paul Mainieri talks with umpires after Mississippi State pitcher Kendall Graveman is warned after he threw the first pitch of the second inning behind LSU first baseman Mason Katz's head. Katz hit two home runs Saturday night. Mainieri said he thought Graveman should have been ejected.

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The LSU baseball team’s hopes of sweeping Mississippi State in the first Southeastern Conference series of the season faded early and emphatically in a 10-2 loss Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.

Cody Glenn couldn’t get out of the fourth inning in his first SEC start as the Bulldogs took a 6-0 lead against him, and the Tigers hit into three double plays and left 11 runners on base.

“It was just not a good day for us,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “Cody did not have great command, and we just dug ourselves a hole. We got 11 hits, just couldn’t get them when they mattered.”

In the process the Tigers’ 13-game winning streak came to an end, as did first baseman Mason Katz’s streak of five consecutive games with a home run. He was the first LSU hitter to do that since Brad Cresse did it during the 1998 NCAA South II Regional in Baton Rouge.

“We hit into a lot of double plays,” said Katz, who was 0-for-2 with a walk. “Early on, we didn’t have good at-bats when we needed to. Then there was a lot of catch-up.”

When Katz, who had three homers in the first games of the series, came up for the first time leading off the second, State starter Kendall Graveman (2-1) threw fastball behind Katz’s head.

Home plate umpire Jay Asher immediately warned Graveman and Bulldogs coach John Cohen. Mainieri came out of the dugout and had an animated conversation with Asher before first base umpire Jack Cox joined in.

“I thought he should have thrown (Graveman) out of the game,” Mainieri said. “You’d have to have never seen a baseball game before not to think he did it on purpose.

“(Asher) said it was a purpose pitch, but he didn’t try to hit him intentionally. I’m trying to figure out the difference between those two.”

Graveman (2-1) limited the Tigers to one run on seven hits in six innings as the 11th-ranked Bulldogs (19-4) won for just the second time in six games.

“Kendall put the team on his shoulders,” Cohen said. “From his body language and preparation, he couldn’t be denied. This was a really a big win for us, because we needed it from a confidence standpoint.”

No. 2 LSU, which had clinched its seventh straight series victory against State and fifth straight in Starkville with a 6-4, 10-inning win Friday and a 7-3 win Saturday, is 18-2. The Tigers will play Northwestern State on Wednesday in Alex Box Stadium.

Glenn got into trouble from the start. He walked the leadoff hitter, sent him to second on a wild pitch and gave up RBI doubles to Hunter Renfroe and Wes Rea.

The Bulldogs got the leadoff batter on again in the second when Daryl Norris walked. Demarcus Henderson sacrificed him to second and Brett Pirtle beat out a grounder to deep short.

Glenn got the second out, but walked C.T. Bradford and Renfroe to force in a run to make it 3-0.

After a 1-2-3 third, Glenn couldn’t get out of the fourth. His first pitch hit Henderson, and Pirtle followed by chopping a hit-and-run single to right, sending Henderson to third.

Glenn got a pop-out before yielding an RBI single to Bradford, bringing Nate Fury out of the bullpen.

“My command wasn’t there like it’s been all year,” said Glenn, who was 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA coming in. “I wasn’t hitting my spots and keeping it low. It would either be too low or too high: Too low, I’d walk them; too high, I’d give up base hit.”

After an intentional walk and strikeout, Rea singled home two runs to make it 6-0.

The Bulldogs scored a run against Nick Rumbelow in the sixth and three against Will LaMarche in the seventh.

“It looked like Cody was going to get it together after he had a good third inning,” Mainieri said. “Then the wheels fell off again. We didn’t get great jobs out of the bullpen, and it snowballed.”

The Tigers had a base runner against Graveman in each of the first six innings but couldn’t score. They got a runner to third with two out in the fourth, but Christian Ibarra grounded to short.

They loaded the bases with two outs for Ibarra in the sixth. He worked the count full and fouled off four pitches before looking at strike three.

“He was battling like crazy,” Mainieri said. “Then he just froze on the 3-2 change-up.”

LSU finally scored on JaCoby Jones’ sacrifice fly in the seventh, then loaded the bases before Alex Bregman hit into an inning-ending double play. Jared Foster hit his first homer of the season as a pinch hitter leading off the eighth.

The Tigers said they were going to dwell on the two wins more than the one loss.

“They’re going to go celebrate winning one game,” Katz said. “And we’re happy winning a series on the road.”