From staff reports/Photo by Jenny Dilworth
South Carolina suffered another heartbreaking loss Sunday, falling to LSU 7-6 in 10 innings to drop the deciding game of the three-game series.
LSU, which won Game 2 on Saturday, won it on Antoine Duplantis’ one-out RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning.
The Gamecocks fell to 27-19 and 11-13 in the SEC and have lost six straight SEC series, dropping each of them two games to one. LSU improved to 32-16 and 15-9 in league play.
The Gamecocks were the victim of a controversial blown call in the bottom of the eighth inning. Leading 5-4 with two outs, shortstop Madison Stokes fielded a ground ball and made an off-balance throw to first. First baseman Matt Williams scooped up the throw for what appeared to be the third out, but the first-base umpire ruled that the runner was safe, allowing the tying run to score.
TV replays showed that the runner was clearly out. Head coach Chad Holbrook argued the call, but to no avail. After the third out, assistant coach Sammy Esposito was ejected for continuing to argue the call.
South Carolina took a 6-5 lead in the top of the ninth on LT Tolbert's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. But LSU tied it in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single by Greg Deichmann off closer Tyler Johnson.
The Gamecocks had a chance to take the lead again in the 10th when Williams walked and Jacob Olson doubled to left, but Williams was thrown out at the plate.
LSU's Zach Watson led off the bottom of the inning with an infield single. He moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt and to third on an error by Stokes. Duplantis knocked in the winning run — his fifth hit of the game — off reliever John Parke.
Reed Scott started the game for South Carolina, his first start since 2015, and pitched into the fifth inning, when he was relieved by Josh Reagan. Johnson took over for Reagan in the 8th, but could not hold the lead.
LSU led 3-1 in the fifth when South Carolina scored four runs to take the lead. TJ Hopkins doubled and scored on Tolbert's RBI single to cut the lead to 3-2. Alex Destino followed with a three-run homer, his eighth of the season and second of the weekend, to give South Carolina a 5-3 lead.
LSU added a run in the bottom of the fifth and didn't score again until the controversial call in the bottom of the eighth.
“It was a great college game and our kids deserve a better fate," Holbrook said. "We made some great defensive plays and gave ourselves a chance to win and a couple of things in the game didn’t go our way.”
South Carolina returns home to host Presbyterian on Tuesday at 7 p.m.