FAYETTEVILLE – Zack Cox and Andy Wilkins each hit home runs for the No. 7 Arkansas baseball team, but their efforts came up just short as the Hogs could not battle back from a four-run deficit to No. 4 LSU on a wet Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium, losing to the Tigers, 4-3.
Arkansas (31-14, 14-9 SEC) falls to 1 ½ games behind LSU (36-13, 16-8 SEC) in the Southeastern Conference standings on a day that saw the Razorbacks set an all-time record for tickets sold in a season. The Hogs have sold 238,194 tickets for their games so far, breaking last year’s mark of 236,522, but still have four games to play at Baum Stadium.
For the first time in the series Arkansas kept LSU off the scoreboard in the top of the first inning, but the Tigers still got the upper hand in the third on a RBI double to left-center by Blake Dean. The hit scored Jared Mitchell who was a thorn in Arkansas’ side throughout the series as he had five hits, two runs and four RBI over the three games.
The Tigers tacked on three more runs in the top of the fourth on four hits with Mitchell delivering the big hit, a two-out flare to right field that scored two runs. A sacrifice fly by Mikie Mahtook allowed the other LSU run to score.
The Razorbacks were not going to allow LSU to post their second shutout in as many days and took care of that in the bottom of the fourth inning when Cox crushed a 3-2 pitch high into the air and over the center-field wall for his seventh home run of the season. The home run by Cox extended his career best hitting streak to nine games and his 2-4 day at the plate increased his batting average to a season best .295. During his streak, Cox has raised his average 59 points as he has amassed a .455 batting average with 15 hits, seven for extra bases, 11 runs, nine RBI and an .848 slugging percentage.
Arkansas would claw back to within one the next inning as Ben Tschepikow singled with one out and scored after Andy Wilkinsput a 1-1 pitch over the LSU bullpen in right field for his 15th home run of the season, making it a 4-3 contest. Wilkins’ long ball was his second of the series and fired up the crowd which braved the elements to watch the highly anticipated series.
On the mound for the Razorbacks, sophomore Brett Eibner started and picked up the loss after throwing 3.2 innings and allowing four runs on six hits. Junior Mike Bolsinger came in to throw 4.1 innings and scattered four hits while walking one and striking out four. Bolsinger’s effort gave the Razorbacks their opportunity to rally and Stephen Richards finished up the game with a trio of strikeouts in the ninth inning.
The Razorbacks did get 11 hits in the game led by Scott Lyons’ double and two singles. It was his fourth three-hit game of the season and the senior leads the Razorbacks in multi-hit games with 16 this spring. Tschepikow and Cox each contributed a pair of hits while Chase Leavitt, Wilkins and James McCann rounded out the attack.
For the first time this season the Razorbacks have no midweek games so the student-athletes can concentrate on finals. Next up for the Razorbacks is another pivotal SEC series at Alabama next weekend. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.