LSU into SEC Semi-Final After Defeating Arkansas
The Tigers capitalized on seven un-earned runs and defeated #24 Arkansas 10-5 to make it into the SEC Tournament Semi-final.
LSU Baseball Report/William P. Franques
LSU ADVANCES TO SEC TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL WITH 10-5 WIN OVER ARKANSAS
HOOVER, Ala. – Top-ranked LSU advanced to the SEC Tournament semifinal for the third straight year Thursday night as the Tigers posted a 10-5 win over No. 20 Arkansas at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
LSU (48-9), which has won five of the previous seven SEC Tournament championships and two in a row, will play either Florida or Arkansas in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon. The game will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Noon semifinal game on Saturday between Texas A&M and either Alabama or Vanderbilt.
Thursday’s win marked LSU’s ninth straight victory in an SEC Tournament game, dating back to 2013.
Arkansas dropped to 35-21 with Thursday’s loss and will face Florida on Friday evening in an elimination contest.
LSU capitalized on six errors committed by Arkansas in Thursday’s game, including three miscues in the first inning as the Tigers seized a 4-0 lead.
“I think Arkansas’ errors were the result of the pressure that we put on them,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We put a lot of pressure on them with our speed and the running game. I thought our team’s speed and our bat-handling ability were big factors early in the game. We put pressure on them, they made some mistakes, and we took advantage of them.”
LSU scored four runs in the top of the first inning against Arkansas starter James Teague. Third baseman Conner Hale lifted a sacrifice fly and first baseman Chris Chinea lined an RBI single to highlight the outburst for the Tigers, who also stole two bases and took advantage of a wild pitchh and three Arkansas errors in the frame.
The Tigers extended the lead to 6-0 in the second as rightfielder Mark Laird ripped an RBI double and shortstop Alex Bregman delivered an run-scoring single.
Arkansas narrowed the deficit to 6-4 in the second against LSU starter Austin Bain as shortstop Michael Bernal, first baseman Clark Eagan and leftfielder Joe Serrano each lined RBI singles, and another run scored on a Bain wild pitch.
LSU reliever Russell Reynolds took over for Bain in the second with two outs and a runner at first, and he retired Arkansas centerfielder Andrew Benintendi, the SEC Player of the Year, on a fly ball to left field.
Reynolds (6-0) was brillant in relief, working 3.1 shutout innings and allowing just two hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
Teague (4-4) was charge with the loss as he surrendered six runs – two earned – on six hits in two innings with one walk and no strikeouts.
The Tigers scored two runs in the fourth against Arkansas reliever Jackson Lowery as leftfielder Jake Fraley slapped a run-scoring single and Bregman contributed a sacrifice fly.
Bregman lifted another sacrifice fly in the seventh and centerfielder Andrew Stevenson added a two-out RBI single to give the Tigers a 10-4 advantage.
Arkansas plated a run in the bottom of the seventh rightfielder Tyler Spoon lined a run-scoring single.
Bregman finished 1-for-2 at the plate with three RBI, and second baseman Jared Foster collected three hits and scored two runs to pace the Tigers’ 12-hit attack.