HOOVER, Ala. — The K Lady ran out of K signs … she was down to fingers.
They did the seventh-inning stretch … twice.
The seven-overtime LSU-Texas A&M football game called and said, “Now this is ridiculous.”
The longest, most epic, most everything game in LSU baseball history (and probably Mississippi State baseball history, too) ended, finally at 3:03 a.m. on Thursday morning, 6 hours, 43 minutes after it started here in the Southeastern Conference tournament. Let the record show it ended with an RBI single by the Bulldogs’ Gunner Halter to score Juston Foscue, who reached base after striking out on a wild pitch by LSU reliever Ma’Khail Hilliard.
If anyone ever deserved not to be saddled with a loss, it was Hilliard. He pitched gamely, as did all of LSU’s pitchers, including starter Eric Walker. He pitched on Wednesday, literally hours earlier, scuffling through four innings and falling behind 4-0 in what looked early on to be a Mississippi State rout before the Tigers tied it 4-4 on a surprise two-run home run in the eighth from freshman Giovanni DiGiacomo.
“I just wanted to make a difference,” DiGiacomo said. Mission accomplished, lad.
Can't see video below? Click here.
LSU looked like it had it won in the 16th after more DiGiacomo magic allow him to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead on a sacrifice fly to left, but second baseman Brandt Broussard couldn’t grab a softly hit chopper by Jake Mangum and State tied it again 5-5 as Jordan scampered home from third.
Afterwards, the Bulldogs got rowdy in right field, practically celebrating like they won that long elusive College World Series title the program is still chasing. Over in front of the Tigers’ dugout, a drained and deflated LSU coach Paul Maineri tried to make sense of what he had just experienced.
“The kids gave it all they had,” Mainieri said. “I’m so proud of them all.”
LSU baseball lost to Mississippi State, 6-5, in a game that lasted more than six hours and ended in the 17th inning.
There were 125 at bats in this game. Thirty hits. Five hundred and fifty-two pitches were thrown. A total of 38 runners were stranded on base, 21 by State and 17 by LSU. Some of the grade school kids chasing foul balls on the berms near Hoover Metropolitan Stadium’s foul poles probably had to head home to pack to go off to college by the time this one was over.
But strip away all the extra innings and all the record marathon numbers and the fact you could have driven from Baton Rouge to Hoover in less time than this game took to play, ultimately it is a loss for LSU. A loss that drops the Tigers to 35-23 and again casts long shadows over their prospects for hosting an NCAA regional next week (Or is it this week by now? I’m not really sure).
LSU somehow had to muster the energy and focus to come back about nine hours after the Mississippi State game ended and try to stay alive in this tournament with an elimination-round win over Auburn. A game LSU needs to avoid going 1-2 in this tournament. A 1-2 showing that could have LSU staying on the road in the postseason, bound for some foreign regional someplace instead of hosting in the friendly confines of Alex Box Stadium.
It almost doesn’t seem fair.
“It’s what we signed up for,” DiGiacomo said.
It was much more than that.