LSU’s players gathered in the back of the dugout on Tuesday night, underneath an awning and out of sight. They were losing another midweek game, this time to Louisiana Tech. Another left-handed pitcher had given them problems.
Two days earlier, LSU scored 15 runs. Now, it had two hits through four innings, the inconsistency of its offense rearing its head.
The players tried to find energy, but the meeting created little change. LSU lost 12-1 at Alex Box Stadium for its first double-digit loss of the season and its fifth loss to an in-state team. It didn't score until the seventh inning.
"We came out sluggish," shortstop Josh Smith said. "It's kind of embarrassing, honestly."
Three years ago Tuesday night, the legend of the rally possum was born at Alex Box Stadium.
The Tigers (30-19) dropped to 11-10 since the first game of April. They lost their third straight game.
"Nothing went right tonight," coach Paul Mainieri said.
On the heels of a series against Ole Miss in which none of LSU’s starting pitchers lasted more than four innings, the Tigers used the back of their bullpen. They had to conserve their best arms to play Arkansas on Thursday.
So, freshman Chase Costello stepped onto a mound for his first appearance since mid-April and his first start of the season.
Costello could not find his secondary pitches, and he left the ball high in the zone. Costello allowed two runs by the end of the first inning. (One was unearned because of an error on Smith, his third in the past three games.)
After a scoreless second inning, Louisiana Tech (30-19) hit two singles, and coach Paul Mainieri took out Costello.
LSU baseball slid in the latest rankings released on Monday.
The Bulldogs scored another two runs to take a 4-0 lead by the end of the inning. All four runs counted against Costello. He gave up five hits.
"I was trying to feel out my secondary pitches in-between innings," Costello said. "I wasn't spotting up where I was supposed to be."
As LSU dipped further into its bullpen — freshman Will Ripoll, senior Clay Moffitt, freshman Rye Gunter and junior Aaron George — Louisiana Tech added to its lead. The Bulldogs scored four runs against George in the eighth inning.
All the while, the Tigers struggled to reach base against Louisiana Tech senior pitcher Logan Robbins, who held a 5.30 ERA entering the game.
Robbins at one point retired nine straight hitters. LSU put five runners in scoring position. Only one scored.
"Just annoying, really," Smith said. "We can't seem to get things going."
Freshman pitcher Cole Henry will sit for a third straight week when LSU baseball plays Arkansas.
When the ninth inning began, LSU trailed by ten runs. Mainieri emptied the bench. Brandt Broussard, an infielder, went to center field. The starters stared out from the edge of the dugout as George gave up another run. The loss dwindled toward its end.
"Things went south pretty early," Mainieri said, "and just never got much better from there."