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Arkansas Beats No. 2 LSU 11-8 In Series Opener

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas Beats No. 2 LSU 11-8 In Series Opener

Baton Rouge, La. – Jay Sawatski’s solid relief performance on the mound put a cork in the LSU offense and helped the Razorbacks earn their first win in Baton Rouge since 1996 with an 11-8 victory over the second-ranked Tigers.

Arkansas improved to 21-11 overall and 6-4 in the Southeastern Conference. LSU fell to 24-7 overall and 6-4 in the league.
Sawatski (4-2) threw six and one-third innings and allowed only one run on six hits with three strikeouts and no walks as the Razorbacks snapped an 11-game losing streak at Alex Box Stadium.
Sawatski was the third pitcher of the game for Arkansas after starter Clint Brannon lasted two and two-thirds innings. Brannon gave up five runs, three earned, on five hits and was pulled for Matt Stallings. Stallings allowed two earned runs on two hits without recording an out in the third inning.
Justin Meier (4-2) took the loss for LSU after giving up seven runs, three earned, on six hits in one and one-third innings on the mound.
The Razorbacks jumped on the second-ranked Tigers in the top of the first inning. Jake Dugger singled through the right side and moved to second when LSU shortstop Blake Gill misplayed Danny Hamblin’s ground ball. A ground out by Clay Goodwin moved the runners to second and third with one out.
Scott Hode gave the Hogs a 1-0 lead with a sac fly to left that plated Dugger from third. With two outs, Brady Toops doubled to right to score Hamblin and give the Hogs a 2-0 lead. Haas Pratt, who walked, moved to third on the double.
Casey Rowlett took a 1-1 pitch to left field for a single to score Pratt and Toops for a 4-0 Arkansas lead in the first inning. Rowlett moved to second on the throw home. LSU got out of the inning when Blake Parker flied out to shallow right field.
The Tigers answered Arkansas in the bottom of the first when Nick Stavinoha singled home Matt Liuzza from second with two outs to make it a 4-1 game.
Clay Harris then hit a ground ball to Hode at short who booted the ball and then threw wild to second attempting to get Stavinoha. Both runners were safe and Stavinoha moved to third on Hode’s wild throw.
Will Harris then singled to left to plate two runs and cut the Arkansas lead to 4-3.
In the second inning, Dugger doubled with one out and scored on a single to left field by Hamblin that gave the Razorbacks and two-run cushion at 5-3. Hamblin advanced to second on the throw home.
Goodwin then pushed the lead to 6-3 with a single to right field that scored Hamblin from second. Goodwin’s RBI single chased Meier from the game after only and an inning and a third of work.
Jordan Faircloth relieved Meier and, before throwing a pitch, threw wild to first attempting to pickoff Goodwin allowing him to advance to third base.
Hode picked up his second RBI of the game with a double to left-center that scored Goodwin and gave the Razorbacks a 7-3 lead. After Pratt struck out, Toops lined a double off the wall in right to score Hode and give the Hogs an 8-3 advantage.
The Razorbacks added another run in the top of the third when Goodwin singled deep to second base and Hamblin aggressively rounded third and scored to make it a 9-3 game. Hamblin reached on a single and moved to second on a delayed steal.
With two outs in the bottom of the third inning Jon Zeringue smacked a two-run home run over the wall in left to make it a 9-5 game. The blast came with Stavinoha aboard after he doubled with one out in the inning.
The home run chased Brannon from the game. Stallings came in and walked Will Harris on five pitches. Gill then cut the lead to two with a two-run home run to right. It was the second home run of the inning for the Tigers and fourth run of the inning. Stallings then walked Matt Horwath.
Still in the bottom of the third, J.C. Holt singled up the middle to move Horwath to third. Holt’s single chased Stallings from the game. The Hogs brought Sawatski in to end the rally.
Sawatski promptly fanned Ryan Patterson to end the inning with the Razorbacks holding a 9-7 lead.
Pratt pushed the Arkansas lead to 10-7 with a solo home run to left to open the fourth inning. It was Pratt’s third home run of the season and first since Feb. 22, against St. John’s.
After entering the game in the third inning, Sawatski kept the Tigers off the scoreboard. The Razorbacks turned inning-ending double plays in the sixth and seventh to prevent LSU from mounting a rally.
After Sawatski set the Tigers down in order to end the eighth inning, Casey Rowlett gave the Hogs an insurance run with a solo home run to center that gave Arkansas an 11-7 lead.
The Tigers closed the gap in the ninth after a pair of singles opened the bottom half of the inning. Stavinoha’s sac fly to right plated Patterson from third to make it an 11-8 game.
Sawatski then got Clay Harris to pop out to right for the second out of the inning. The Hogs sealed the game when Zeringue flied out to right for the final out.
Arkansas and No. 2 LSU continue the series Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net South and is the SEC-TV game of the week.



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