COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Inclement weather haunted LSU throughout Thursday — even into the early hours of Friday morning. But in the end, it was a pair of defensive miscues that doomed the Tigers against Texas A&M.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, LSU committed two errors in that frame, leading to the go-ahead runs for Texas A&M. The Aggies then closed the door to seal the 2-1 victory at Blue Bell Park, not allowing a single LSU base runner for the remainder of the game.
Despite a rain delay that postponed the start of the game almost two hours — and two more delays in the games first three innings —LSU starter Cody Glenn was able to find an early groove. He mostly sailed through six scoreless innings, but things unraveled for him in the seventh. He allowed a leadoff single to A&M RF Brandon Wood before Alex Bregman committed an error to put two on with nobody out.
Krey Bratsen laid down a bunt to third, and Christian Ibarra threw it away to bring home the game-tying run. Aggie leadoff man Mikey Reynolds put A&M on top with a RBI-single to right, scoring Jonathan Moroney from third.
“There’s no excuses at all,” Mainieri said. “They did what it took to win, and we didn’t…We just didn’t meet the challenge. Because of that we lost. It’s that simple.”
That seventh inning spoiled an otherwise promising night for Glenn. Before that frame, Glenn had allowed only three hits with four strikeouts. Though he also walked three and hit a batter, Glenn was able to escape several jams in order to preserve the early shutout.
Glenn stranded three runners in scoring position through the game’s first six innings.
“I thought Cody Glenn pitched his heart out and deserved to win the game,” Mainieri said. “He did everything he could possibly do to give us a chance to win. But when you only score one run on the road, it’s hard to win a game.”
The LSU offense didn’t provide much help, as A&M starter Daniel Mengden limited LSU to only five hits in eight innings of work. Mengden struck out five — four looking — and allowed just the one run.
“It’s just a case where their pitcher was just too good for us tonight,” Mainieri said. He pitched great. He’s really good. We didn’t do much against him. We didn’t have a lot of good at-bats against him…He’s as good as anyone I’ve seen in our league this year.”
The Tigers were able to take a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Raph Rhymes, hitting in the two-hole for the first time this season, got it started with a one-out single. Then Bregman, who went 2-for-4 with a RBI, brought him home with a double to right-center.
LSU had a couple more opportunities to score, but ultimately failed. The Tigers had runners on the corners with one out in the fourth when Ibarra laced right back at Mengden, who made the catch and doubled the runner off at first.
The Tigers then brought up the top of the order in the eighth, but Mengden and closer Jason Jester retired six straight to finish off the victory.
“A couple guys got a couple hits, but that wasn’t enough,” Mainieri said. “First of all, you need more than two guys to get hits. If those guys are going to carry the team, they have to do what it takes to win it.”
LSU will try to rattle off the loss and return to the field Friday at 6:30 p.m. for Game 2 with Texas A&M. Aaron Nola, who has tossed four straight complete games, will take the mound for the Tigers.
“We’ve got Nola pitching for us, and you like your chances whenever he’s on the mound,” Mainieri said. “But we got to get him some runs, and we got to play good defense behind him. It would be hard for him to pitch any better than Cody Glenn did tonight.”