FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Fifth-ranked Arkansas scored three seventh-inning runs Thursday night to erase a 3-2 deficit and post a 5-4 win over No. 12 LSU at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Arkansas improved to 26-7 overall, 9-4 in the SEC, while LSU dropped to 23-10 overall and 7-6 in conference play.
The teams resume the series at 6 p.m. Friday in a game that will be broadcast by 98.1-FM and televised on the SEC Network.
Arkansas reliever Evan Taylor (3-0) was credited with the win, as he limited LSU to one unearned run in one inning of work with three strikeouts.
LSU reliever Riley Cooper (2-2) was charged with the loss after allowing two runs on two hits in 1.1 innings with three strikeouts.
“We’ve got to play better,” LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson said. “If we handle the baseball, we win tonight. We’re working extremely hard at it; we’ve got to be aggressive and do a better job on defense. Our pitchers executed the way they’re supposed to, but we didn’t give them the support they needed.
“It was a battle; Arkansas is in first place (in the SEC Western Division) for a reason. They’re a very complete team in terms of athleticism, pitching and defense, so we need to perform at a higher level in order to beat them.”
Arkansas took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when third baseman Cayden Wallace singled, moved to second on an error, advanced to third on rightfielder Chris Lanzilli’s single and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by catcher Michael Turner.
The Razorbacks increased the margin to 2-0 in the third when centerfielder Braydon Webb drew a bases-loaded walk.
Arkansas starting pitcher Connor Noland had a no-hitter through the first 5.2 innings, but the Tigers finally solved him in the sixth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Third baseman Jacob Berry, second baseman Cade Doughty and rightfielder Josh Pearson each provided RBI singles to highlight the rally.
Noland left the game after working six innings, allowing three runs on four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Arkansas, however, struck for three runs in the seventh on an RBI single by centerfielder Braydon Webb and a two-run single by second baseman Robert Moore.
LSU responded with a run in the eighth on Berry’s RBI single, but the Razorbacks turned a double play with one out and the bases loaded to hold onto the lead.
Arkansas closer Brady Tygart earned his fifth save of the season, working the final two innings and allowing no runs on three hits with one walk and one strikeout.
LSU starting pitcher Ma’Khail Hilliard worked the first five innings, limiting Arkansas to two runs – one earned – on three hits with four walks and five strikeouts.