COLLEGE STATION, Texas — LSU was not competitive as it dropped the second game of its series at Texas A&M 9-2, but the outcome of the game was far from Paul Mainieri's mind in the immediate aftermath.
The LSU coach looked stunned as he stood near the rear of the visitor's dugout at Olsen Field. He fought back tears as he explained that Bryce Jordan — a little more than a year removed from a serious knee injury that resulted in a lost 2017 season — injured the same knee late Friday night.
Mainieri declined to speculate on the severity of the injury until Jordan is able to see a doctor when the team returns to Baton Rouge. All the coach could say, in a muted tone, was that he feared the worst.
"It's unbelievable, man," Mainieri said. "These poor kids, what they've been through. It's hard to believe. It makes the game seem so irrelevant.
"I just feel so bad for the kid. It's awful."
The injury happened when Jordan grounded out to end the LSU eighth inning. The throw pulled Aggies first baseman Hunter Coleman away from the bag, and Jordan collided with him as he neared first base. Immediately, something felt off with Jordan's right knee — the same knee he injured last spring.
Mainieri said Jordan was not able to pinpoint what went wrong on the play, but Jordan knew what he was feeling.
"Unfortunately, he's had experience with hurting his knee, so I think he knows what it feels like when something's not right. ... I'm just heartbroken for the kid," Mainieri said.
Jordan's parents came in from the stands to visit him in the room behind LSU's dugout. He was able to walk off the field Friday, but he was clearly distraught.
Nothing else went LSU's way in the game itself.
Its starting pitcher did not make it out of the first inning. Its stellar center fielder committed his second career error, and it cost three bases and a run. When LSU did put someone on base, the next batter seemed destined to hit into a tailor made double play.
Combined with a well-executed night by the Aggies, and all these things added up to a lopsided loss that evened the series.
WHO: LSU at Texas A&M
The Southeastern Conference’s Nos. 1 and 2 pitchers by ERA — LSU’s Ma’Khail Hilliard (0.76) and A&M’s Mitchell Kilkenny (1.59) will settle the series at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The game spun out of control quickly for LSU (20-12, 6-5 SEC) and junior right-hander Caleb Gilbert.
A&M (22-9, 4-7) sent eight hitters against Gilbert on Friday, and six of them connected on base hits. Several of the hits were ground balls that found the holes in the LSU defense, but they counted just the same.
Three of the six hits came with two strikes. Another two-strike offering was crushed to deep right field and scored a run on a sacrifice fly.
"I was getting ahead in pretty much all the counts," Gilbert said. "It's a tough game to describe, a tough outing for me. I felt really good out there, that's the confusing part."
Gilbert had a chance to limit the damage to two runs but yielded three straight two-out hits — a single through the right side, a booming double and a sharp single, all scoring runs — and Gilbert’s night was done.
The Aggies bats have not been kind to Gilbert the past two years. They also handed him a blown save in a four-run ninth inning in Baton Rouge last season. In his past two outings against A&M, Gilbert has allowed nine hits and nine runs in 1⅔ innings.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — In the minutes before the first pitch of LSU's series against Texas A&M at Olsen Field, AJ Labas moseyed down to …
Cam Sanders did a nice job keeping LSU in the game before his own night unraveled, and for a moment it looked like LSU had life when Daniel Cabrera socked a two-run homer off A&M starter John Doxakis (5-1).
But that was all Doxakis gave up in a magnificent start.
The A&M left-hander benefited from a pair of routine double plays that erased leadoff singles in the early innings, and cruised the remainder of his outing, locking LSU up for eight innings.
And A&M was not finished tacking runs on the board.
It scored three runs on just one hit in the fifth — with help from Zach Watson, who lost a sinking Braden Shewmake liner in the twilight and let it by him for a three-base run-scoring error.
"I lost it for a split second, and as soon as I'd picked it back up, I overran it," Watson said.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Sophomore infielder Josh Smith took another step toward returning from a back injury that has sidelined him for nearl…