HOOVER, AL (WVUE) - LSU reliever Jesse Stallings surrendered a solo home run to Florida's Mike Rivera in the ninth inning of a 2-1 loss in Saturday's SEC tournament semifinal game.
Tiger starter Alex Lange pitched seven shutout innings, striking out seven. Lange, the SEC freshman of the year, did walk six batters but consistently pitched his way out of trouble, stranding nine Gators on base.
"Obviously this isn't the way we wanted it to play out," Lange said. "We had aspirations of playing tomorrow and going out there and bringing a third title home, but it's not the way it worked out. It's unfortunate. I feel like we played hard till the end. I feel like the offense wasn't their typical self like they have been all year. But that's our job as a pitching staff to pick them up.
Jared Foster's two-out RBI single in the second inning gave LSU a 1-0 lead. The Tigers collected nine hits on the day.
Florida tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI double in the eighth inning off Tiger reliever Hunter Newman.
"You know it was a tough loss for us because we came here to win this thing," LSU Coach Paul Manieri said. "And we got to the semifinals, a chance to win our third in a row, for the second time three in a row. We felt like we had a chance. We had a great pitcher going. We had been playing well. We just didn't play well enough today. You know I thought Jesse was throwing the ball great, he just made one bad pitch, and it cost us the ball game.
LSU will now await its seeding for the NCAA tournament where the Tigers will likely be the top overall seed.