BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU freshman right-hander Eric Walker fired a career-high seven innings and senior shortstop Kramer Robertson blasted a two-run home run, but Texas A&M left fielder Walker Pennington hit a three-run blast in the ninth inning to push the Aggies to a 4-3 win against the sixth-ranked Tigers Saturday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
With the loss, LSU falls to 19-10 on the season and 5-4 in Southeastern Conference play while Texas A&M improves to 19-10 on the year and 3-6 in the league.
Texas A&M’s Corbin Martin earned the win to improve to 3-2. The right-hander fired eight innings and allowed three runs on four hits, struck out five and walked two. Right-hander Mitchell Kilkenny earned the save, his second of the season, after shutting out the Tigers in the ninth.
Caleb Gilbert suffered the loss and fell to 1-1 on the season. The sophomore right-hander allowed four runs on three hits, walked a batter and struck out two in the ninth inning.
Walker started the game for the Tigers and blanked the Aggies over seven innings, allowing only three hits, walking one and striking out seven.
“That’s about as tough as a loss can get,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It seemed like we had it all lined up, but we weren’t able to finish the game the way we planned. I feel so bad for our kids, that’s a bitter, hard loss right there, and it’s hard to put it into words. Give credit to Texas A&M, they kept battling to the end.”
The Tigers return to action against Grambling Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT. The game will be available online only through the SEC Network+, which is accessible through WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app. The game will also be broadcast live on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Fans can also go to LSUsports.net for live stats and audio.
LSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth after Robertson drilled his second home run of the weekend to left-centerfield, driving in left fielder Antoine Duplantis, who reached on a single to lead off the inning.
Designated hitter Beau Jordan led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a fly ball to centerfield. The junior scored after centerfielder Zach Watson ripped a single up the middle to give LSU the 3-0 advantage.
With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, catcher Hunter Coleman drove in first baseman Joel Davis with a single up the middle to cut into the Tigers’ lead. Texas A&M’s Pennington followed with a three-run blast to give the Aggies the 4-3 advantage.
“We have no choice but to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and get ready for the second half of the season,” Mainieri said. “The calendar turned to April today, and that’s usually when we play our best baseball. This is a tough one, but we’ve got to digest it and get rid of it. This is a tough business, and our kids know they just have to get back out there and work hard and prepare to compete with everything they have.”