Tigers Drop Game Three to Georgia, 12-4

Junior J.C. Holt finished the weekend batting .571 (8-for-14) in the series.
Junior J.C. Holt finished the weekend batting .571 (8-for-14) in the series.
LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- Georgia jumped on LSU for seven runs in the first two innings as the Bulldogs salvaged the series finale, 12-4, Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium.

The Tigers (No. 7 Baseball America, No. 9 ESPN/Sports Weekly, No. 12 Collegiate Baseball) were unable to sweep their first Southeastern Conference series of the season and dropped to 28-10, 8-7 in league play. Georgia improved to 22-15, 6-9 in the SEC.

The Bulldogs pounded out 17 hits, tying the most allowed by LSU this season. Auburn collected 17 hits in a 7-6 win over LSU on April 2.

UGA starter Michael Hyle (3-1) was brilliant for seven innings, allowing no earned runs and scattering eight hits. The sophomore right-hander and former freshman All-America added four strikeouts and one walk.

Georgia lead-off hitter Josh Smith went 5-for-6 at the plate with four runs and two RBI.

LSU center fielder J.C. Holt continued his stellar junior campaign, going 3-for-5 on Sunday. Holt finished the weekend batting .571 (8-for-14) in the series.

LSU travels to Lee-Hines Field to face cross-town rival Southern University Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. before facing sixth-ranked Tennessee in Knoxville next weekend.

Georgia grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the first inning by taking advantage of Blake Gill's fielding error that scored Josh Morris. Joey Side singled through the right side for the Bulldogs' second run.

In the second inning, the Bulldogs sent eight hitters to the plate, scoring five runs - three unearned -- on four hits and another error. Derek Smith started the scoring with a bases loaded RBI single that chased Nate Bumstead (5-2) who was tagged for five runs (two earned) on six hits in only 1.1 innings.

"After an inning and a third, I don't think he was at his best," said LSU head coach Smoke Laval. "His velocity looked normal, but they hit him."

Justin Meier, making his first relief appearance of the season, inherited a two-on, one-out jam. In desperate need of an out, Meier got Marshall Szabo to ground to Gill at shortstop. Gill misplayed the ball, loading the bases.

Two batters later, Derek Smith cranked a two-out, three-run homer that stunned the 5,129 in attendance as Georgia extended the lead to 7-0.

The Tigers got on the board in the second with an unearned run of their own when Nick Stavinoha rolled an infield single to shortstop Justin Holmes, who fired the ball into the LSU dugout, allowing Clay Harris to score.

Derek Smith collected his fourth RBI of the game in the fourth, lifting a sacrifice fly to left field that allowed the Bulldogs to get the run back.

Hyle was lifted in the eighth and relieved by Will Startup who Stavinoha's two-out three-run homer in the ninth.

"The stats are a little misleading," said Laval. "We were out of it early. Offensively, our approach was still pretty good. We had some hard outs. That 's part of it, but we just didn't defend well and that will cost you."

Georgia 12, LSU 4 (Apr 18, 2004 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Georgia............. 250 100 040 - 12 17 2 (22-15, 6-9 SEC)
LSU................. 010 000 003 - 4 13 3 (28-10, 8-7 SEC)
Pitchers: Georgia - Hyle; Startup(8). LSU - Bumstead; Meier(2); Smith, G.(8).
Win-Hyle(3-1) Loss-Bumstead(5-2) T-2:35 A-8102
HR UG - Smith, D. (2).
HR LSU - Stavinoha (5).



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