Arkansas Baseball Comes Up Short Against LSU, Loses Series 2-1

Walt Beazley/ArkansasRazorbacks.com

The Razorbacks gave the Tigers all they could handle in Sunday's rubber match.

The series between top 10 teams started smoothly enough, as the two squads traded dominant victories on Friday and Saturday thanks to amazing pitching performances from LSU's Austin Nola on Friday and Arkansas' Ryne Stanek on Saturday.

But on Sunday, things got a little crazy. The game was tight throughout. Arkansas took the first lead in the first inning, but LSU picked up three runs the the third inning, and Dave Van Horn wasted no time in pulling starter Randall Fant in the process.

The Razorbacks answered in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run from Jordan Farris, and Farris drove in Dominic Ficociello in the fourth to tie the game at three. Arkansas was beginning to hit LSU starter Cody Glenn really well in the fourth and the Hogs had tons of momentum, but a line drive to Glenn's leg took him out of the game and, like Arkansas, LSU used their bullpen the rest of the way.

It was a duel between the two pitching staffs for the final five innings, as neither team was able to manufacture a run. There were plenty of close calls and tense moments, but the game eventually went to 10 innings, where LSU scored on a sac fly to take the 4-3 lead. The Tigers picked up a 5th run after a questionable call at first base that Van Horn argued until he was ejected.

The call proved to be irrelevant as LSU closer Chris Cotton didn't allow a run in the bottom of the 10th and LSU claimed the victory.

The Razorbacks are now in third place in the SEC behind Vanderbilt and LSU, and second in the SEC West. It's the first series loss for Arkansas since they hosted Ole Miss last month. Saturday's victory snapped LSU's 15-game winning streak.

For LSU's perspective on the series, check out the report from our friends at And The Valley Shook.

Here's the recap of the finale from UA:

FAYETTEVILLE – No. 2 LSU broke a 3-3 tie with two runs in the top of the 10th inning to defeat No. 10 Arkansas, 5-3, in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium.

The Razorbacks drop to 25-12 overall and 9-6 in Southeastern Conference play, while LSU, which won two of three games in the series, improves to 34-3 and 13-2 in league play.

Arkansas set a new school record for highest paid attendance in a three-game weekend series as 30,718 tickets were sold for the three games against LSU. Sunday’s paid attendance of 10,180 was the eighth-highest in Baum Stadium history, while the actual attendance on Sunday of 9,248 was the 15th-highest in stadium history.

With the score tied at three, LSU put together a two-run rally in the top of the 10th to take a 5-3 lead. Ty Ross started the inning with a double to the right-center field alley and then pinch runner Jared Foster advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Chris Sciambra. Sean McMullen flew out to deep right-center field on the first pitch of his at bat, scoring Foster from third with the go-ahead run. The Tigers would add an insurance run later in the inning on a RBI single to center field by Raph Rhymes that put LSU in front 5-3.

Arkansas was able to get the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the 10th after a one-out bunt single by Brett McAfee. However, LSU closer Chris Cotton retired pinch hitters Isaac Hellbusch and Jean Ramirez to end the game and give the Tigers the win in the series finale.

Cotton (2-0) earned the win on the mound for the Tigers. The left hander gave up one hit and struck out one over two scoreless innings.

Arkansas reliever Chris Oliver (2-1) was the tough-luck loser after allowing a run on one hit and striking out one in 1.2 innings.

Brandon Moore and Trent Daniel each turned in quality performances out of the Razorback bullpen. Moore allowed a hit in 3.2 shutout innings, while Daniel struck out two of the three batters he faced in his perfect inning of work.

Neither starter factored into the decision on Sunday. Arkansas starter Randall Fant gave up three runs on three hits and struck out one in 2.2 innings. LSU starter Cody Glenn allowed three runs on five hits in 3.1 innings.

Freshman Jordan Farris led the Razorbacks at the plate with a two-hit performance, including a home run, and two RBI. Tyler Spoon had a hit and a RBI in the loss. Brian Anderson, Dominic Ficociello, McAfee and Joe Serrano also had one hit.

Alex Bregman homered and had a game-high three hits with two RBI to lead LSU at the plate. Mark Laird, McMullen and Rhymes each had a hit and a RBI.

Arkansas jumped out to an early lead with a run in the home half of the first. Jacob Mahan drew a leadoff walk and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Serrano. Spoon came through with the one-out RBI single to left field to score Mahan from second base.

The Tigers grabbed the lead with three runs in the top of the third. Laird drove in a run on a RBI fielder’s choice and a two-run home run from Bregman later in the inning gave LSU a 3-1 edge.

Arkansas answered with a run in the bottom of the third on Farris’ leadoff homer as he sent a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left-center field for his second round-tripper of the season.

The Razorbacks tied the game with a run in the bottom of the fourth. With two out and runners on first and second, Farris again provided the key hit with an opposite field RBI single to right, scoring Ficociello from second base to tie the game at three.

The run in the fourth was the last run either team would score until LSU broke the 3-3 deadlock with two runs in the 10th.

Arkansas is back in action on Tuesday as it opens a two-game series at Nebraska. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 6:35 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

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