A late three-run homer buries No. 8 LSU baseball in game one against No. 1 Arkansas

LSU baseball fell to Arkansas in a hard-fought game one on the road. PHOTO BY: LSU Athletics

No. 8 LSU baseball went toe-to-toe on the road with the No. 1 Arkansas Razorbacks for seven and a half innings.

LSU trailed by just one run heading into the bottom of the eighth inning and was hanging tight with the top team in the country. Then, a three-run blast put the Tigers away for good in a 7-4 loss.

LSU (20-7, 2-5 SEC) claimed a lead in fourth inning thanks to a pair of homers but otherwise struggled to hit Arkansas (21-3, 6-1 SEC) ace Hagen Smith and top reliver Will McEntire. Smith ended the night 10 strikeouts while allowing five hits, two runs and no walks in 6.0 innings pitched. LSU finished with nine hits on the night and struck out 19 times.

“I thought we did OK against Hagen; he’s the best,” LSU head coach Jay Johnson said. “There were some encouraging moments in the game that can give our players confidence. We’ve faced probably the two best pitchers in the country (Smith and Florida’s Jac Caglianone) in our last two SEC games, and I thought we showed a lot of improvement tonight.”

The Tigers switched up their pitching staff for the series and gave Javen Coleman his first SEC start of the season. Coleman held his own and went 2.1 innings while giving up two hits and a run.

LSU was able to keep the Arkansas batters in check for the most part, but Kendall Diggs was the difference maker with his three-RBI blast on his lone hit of the night. Arkansas finished with 10 hits and was struck out 10 times.

LSU’s offense started the game with two-straight three up, three down innings before finally getting its first hit in the top of the third inning. Mac Bingham singled to lead off the third, but the LSU offense couldn’t muster anything else.

Coleman gave the Razorbacks their second hit of the game in the bottom of the third inning. He walked a batter before being pulled for Fidel Ulloa. Ulloa walked another batter to load up the bases before a deep flyball to centerfield allowed the runner on third to tag up and give Arkansas a 1-0 lead.

LSU responded in a big way in the fourth inning thanks to its big hitters. Tommy White hit a solo shot over the left field wall before Hayden Travinski hit another solo homer over the right field wall in the very next at bat to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

Arkansas responded with a solo homer of its own in the bottom of the frame. Jack Wagner sent a ball from Ulloa out over left field to tie the game back up at 2-2. Ulloa was pulled for Justin Loer after giving up a walk and a single. Peyton Stovall hit an RBI single off Loer to allow the Razorbacks to reclaim the lead 3-2.

Loer stayed in the game until the bottom of the sixth when he was pulled for Christian Little. Little gave up two singles to put a runner in scoring position in the sixth, but a ground out ended the frame without any damage.

Smith was replaced by McEntire to start the top of the seventh inning. Bingham doubled to threaten the Razorbacks, but LSU couldn’t get anything else in the inning.

Little gave up a single and a walk before being pulled for Cam Johnson with one out to go in the inning. Johnson struggled to find the strike zone early in his first SEC appearance of the season and walked his first two batters to give the Razorbacks a 4-2 lead. Johnson buckled down after that and struck out Peyton Stovall with a slider in a 3-2 count.

White singled with two outs gone in the top of the eighth inning before Travinski walked to threaten Arkansas. Josh Pearson hit a single to left field that brought White home and LSU within one run. Michael Braswell struck out with runners on the corners to send LSU down to its final three outs down 4-3.

Gavin Guidry came in to start the bottom of the eighth inning. He walked two batters before a three-RBI homer from Kendall Diggs broke the Tigers’ backs. Will Hellmers came in to close out the inning, but the damage was done.

Ashton Larson was walked, and Steven Milam doubled to put runners third and second with one out gone. A wild pitch brought home Larson to bring the score to 7-4. Brady Neal struck out swinging to send the Tigers down to their last out.

Stone Hewlett came in for McEntire to close out the game. Hewlett struck out Pearson to end the game and any comeback hopes for the Tigers.

Game two will start tomorrow at 7 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network.

1 Comment

  1. Pitching is weak this year…
    too many 2 outs then a walk or
    1-2 counts then guy gets on etc…
    fans must hope adjustments by the coaches work…

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