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3
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15
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8
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Vanderbilt
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LSU
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Arkansas drops series opener at LSU

03/31/2012
Chad Crunk, Athletic Media Relations
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BATON ROUGE, La. – Raph Rhymes went 2-for-4 with four RBI, while JaCoby Jones added four hits as No. 15 LSU defeated third-ranked Arkansas 10-6 on Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.

The Razorbacks fell to 22-4 and 5-2 in the Southeastern Conference with the loss, while the Tigers improved to 20-6 and 4-3 in league play.

Bo Bigham, Derrick Bleeker and Matt Reynolds each had two hits to lead Arkansas at the plate. Bleeker and Reynolds each added two RBI, while Dominic Ficociello also drove in a run.

Each of the first six batters in the LSU batting order had at least two hits, led by Jones, who went 4-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored. Rhymes homered and drove in a game-high four runs and had two hits. Austin Nola added three hits with a RBI and a run scored. Grant Dozar, Mason Katz and Ty Ross each had two hits. One of Ross’ two hits was his first home run of the season, while Tyler Hanover also hit his first round-tripper of the year.

LSU starter Kevin Gausman earned the win to improve to 5-0 on the season. Gausman gave up five runs and struck out 12 in 6.2 innings.

Arkansas reliever Cade Lynch took the loss to drop to 0-1. Lynch gave up four runs on five hits in 2.1 innings.

Razorback starter DJ Baxendale picked up a no decision after allowing five runs and striking out four in 2.1 innings.

LSU struck first, scoring twice in the bottom of the second. Back-to-back singles by Nola and Ross put runners at first and third with nobody out. After the next two batters struck out, Jared Foster singled into left field to score Nola for the game’s first run. A base hit to center field by Jones brought home Ross to put the Tigers up 2-0.

Arkansas answered in the top of the third with a five-run inning. With one out, Tim Carver struck out swinging, but reached first on a wild pitch. A base hit to left by Bigham advanced Carver to second. Ficociello then flied out to center to advance Carver to third. Reynolds scored both Carver and Bigham with a double down the left field line to tie game at two. A walk to Bates put runners at first and second. Bleeker then hit a ball to right field that was misplayed by the LSU right fielder into a triple that scored Reynolds and Bates. A wild pitch then scored Bleeker to put Arkansas in front 5-2.

LSU would tie the game in the next half inning with three runs. Katz singled to left to lead off the inning and scored on a two-run homer by Rhymes. After a strike out of Austin Nola, Ross tied the game with a homer to left field.

The Tigers regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth. With two out, Dozar doubled to right field and then came home to score on a single to left field by Katz.

LSU tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Hanover led off the inning with a solo homer to left field. With two out, Jones and Dozar hit consecutive singles to put runners at first and second. Katz was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rhymes then singled to left field to score a pair of runs. A base hit to center field by Nola brought home the fourth run of the inning.

Arkansas closed the game’s scoring with a run in the top of the seventh. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, Bigham hit a single to left-center field and scored from first on a double to center field by Ficociello.

The Razorbacks could get no closer as Arkansas failed to score in the eighth and ninth innings.

Arkansas and LSU continue the three-game series on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Razorbacks will start sophomore right hander Ryne Stanek (6-0, 1.25), while the Tigers will throw sophomore righty Ryan Eades (4-1, 2.04). Saturday’s game will be televised by ESPNU.

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