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College baseball: Tennessee ends LSU’s season

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The LSU Tigers’ season — and head coach Paul Mainieri’s career — came to an end Sunday at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Tennessee Volunteers hit six home runs en route to a 15-6 victory in Game 2 of an NCAA Super Regional. Tennessee (50-16) won the best-of-3 series two games to none, earning a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

LSU closed its season 38-25. Mainieri finished his 15 seasons at LSU with a record of 641-295-3. In his 39-year career, including stints at St. Thomas University (1984-88), Air Force (1989-94) and Notre Dame (1995-2006), Mainieri was 1,505-777-8.

Mainieri won one national championship at LSU and took the Tigers to five World Series.

Before the series began, Mainieri called Lindsey Nelson Stadium a “home run hitters’ paradise.” While that wasn’t the case in Tennessee’s 4-2 victory in Game 1 Saturday, it definitely was Sunday as the Vols and Tigers combined for 10.

Jake Rucker hit two of the Tennessee’s home runs. Drew Gilbert, Evan Russell, Jordan Beck and Connor Pavolony had one apiece.

LSU’s Dylan Crews smacked two. Fellow freshmen Tre’ Morgan and Brody Drost had one each.

LSU used seven pitchers. Starter Landon Marceaux (7-7), who allowed three hits and two earned runs in three innings, took the loss.

Tennessee starter Blake Tidwell (10-3) got the win. He gave up seven hits and six runs in seven innings.

With Crews hitting both of his home runs, LSU kept it close early. The Tigers, who were the home team, trailed 3-2 after three innings.

Tennessee scored two in the top of the fourth to go up 5-2. The Vols blew the game open with six in the fifth, taking an 11-2 lead. 

Gilbert and Russell both homered in the sixth and Russell doubled. Tennessee also took advantage of a walk, a wild pitch, a hit-by-pitch and an error.

Morgan and Drost hit two-run homers in the sixth and seventh, respectively, as the Tigers sliced the deficit to 11-6. But LSU could get no closer.

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