Stingy Missouri drops LSU, 4-1, to even SEC series entering Sunday
Friday's extra-inning victory did not appear to provide LSU any momentum Saturday.
The No. 8 Tigers (24-12, 9-5) managed a lone run against host Missouri (24-12-1, 6-7-1) in the second game of the teams' weekend series en route to the 4-1 loss.
Mizzou starter T.J. Sikkema (4-2) allowed LSU just two hits during six scoreless innings to begin the afternoon.
The junior lefty pitched seven innings total, striking out 10 batters and allowing the lone run on three hits and one walk.
Sikkema (4-2) threw 113 pitches (77 strikes) and kept his earned run average at 1.27 He has struck out 64 and walked 16 in 56 2/3 innings.
Sikkema was a very tough matchup for us and we didn’t generate consistent offense against him,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “We had opportunities throughout the game but we weren’t able to come up with the clutch hit with runners in scoring position. We’re battling injuries to significant players right now , so we’ll re-group and come back on Sunday with a chance to win the series. We’ve got to do the best we can with the players we have and believe that they can get the job done.”
The TIgers were without two starters for most of Saturday.
Centerfielder Zach Watson, LSU's leading hitter, sustained a groin injury in the Tigers' 12-11 extra inning win in Friday night's series opener. Then, third baseman Chris Reid, the Tigers' third-leading hitter, had to leave Saturday’s game after the third inning due to a hamstring strain.
LSU starter Cole Henry (3-2) did his best to limit Mizzou. The freshman right-hander allowed three runs — just two earned — on five hits and two walks while striking out five.
But a two-out RBI double by third baseman Paul Gomez in the second inning and another unearned run in the fifth provided Missouri a slim 2-0 lead that would've been enough to even series.
The home-standing Tigers strung together a hit batter, single, catcher's interference and walk to score their second run.
And when LSU finally mustered any offense, Sikkema limited the damage before handing the ball to closer Ian Bedell for the six-out save.
Sophomore second baseman Hal Hughes led off the seventh with an infield single to the shortstop and advanced all the way around the base paths on a wild pitch and pair of groundouts.
But Sikkema drew a third straight groundout to maintain the lead, and Missouri's lineup provided a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the inning.
Left fielder Alex Peterson doubled to left field, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on sacrifice fly by twin brother Clayton Peterson.
Then shortstop Chris Cornelius drew a walk and followed home on back-to-back singles by center fielder Kameron Misner and designated hitter Peter Zimmerman.
Bedell allowed a lone double in the top of the ninth amid an otherwise uneventful conclusion.
LSU now heads to its fourth rubber-match in as many weekend with the first pitch of the third game scheduled for noon.
Those Tigers dropped the third game to Georgia in Athens three weeks ago before winning series against Mississippi State and Texas A&M.