FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas baseball team came out swinging early Thursday evening, scoring five runs in the first four innings before picking up a 5-1 victory over No. 1 LSU in game one of a three-game series at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas did all its damage in the early going, scoring a run in each of the first two innings, before breaking the game wide open with three runs in the fourth frame to take a commanding 5-0 lead.
The big fourth inning featured five hits in the frame, including clutch two-out base knocks from Rick Nomura and Andrew Benintendi to fuel the three-run spurt.
LSU threatened in the fifth inning, loading the bases with just one out, but Dominic Taccolini forced Danny Zardon to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat and keep the Tigers off the board.
LSU’s lone run of the game came in the sixth inning when Alex Bregman connected with a solo home run, but that would be all the Arkansas pitchers would allow, clamping down over the final three innings to seal the victory.
Dominic Taccolini (4-2) earned the win and posted his fourth quality start of the year, lasting 6.0 innings and giving up one run on six hits, while walking one and striking out two.
He gave way to Zach Jackson who threw 3.0 scoreless frames, allowing just one hit and striking out four batters to earn his first save of the year.
Clark Eagan paced the offense with three hits and two runs scored at the top of the order, while Benintendi and Joe Serrano added two hits apiece.
The Razorbacks and Tigers will play game two of the three-game series Friday evening at Baum Stadium with first pitch slated for 8 p.m. CT. The game will be televised nationally on SEC Network with Dari Nowkhah and Kyle Peterson.
Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn opening statement: “It’s great to get an SEC win against a great team. I’m just really proud of the pitchers. Taccolini battled them early. They took some good swings in the first inning and then settled down a little bit. (Taccolini) made some good pitches, got some ground balls, had a couple quick innings. I thought offensively we did a tremendous job. We put a lot of pressure on Poche’, took some borderline pitches, had a couple of big two-out hits and built up a pretty good lead.”
Van Horn on using two pitchers in the series-opener: “It’s big, especially when you’re facing a team that is as offensive as LSU has been this season throughout the first 20-25 games. We have two more games with them – that’s a lot of innings. We can bring Jackson back tomorrow or Saturday if we need to. He didn’t throw a lot of pitches.”
Van Horn on Wernes’ defensive play this season: “Anybody that asks me, I tell them he’s the best defensive third baseman I’ve ever coached, and I’ve coached some pretty good players. It’s just because he does it day in and day out. He’s not perfect, but he makes a lot of great plays.”
Arkansas junior Zach Jackson on beating an explosive LSU team: “As well as Taccolini pitched early, it was nice going in there and finishing what he started, giving it a solid six innings. I knew I had to fill up the zone and let my stuff work. You have to love throwing in these situations. You have to love throwing against teams like LSU and Vanderbilt. It’s when it really counts.”
Arkansas Sophomore Dominic Taccolini on winning series-opener: “It’s good just to come out and play well and start things off in a series. It’s five games in five days. It’s good to start it off well and hopefully we can finish it out the rest of the weekend.”
- Arkansas has won three of its last four games against the No. 1 team in the country, with the previous two wins coming against South Carolina last season.
- The Razorbacks recorded double-digit hits for the 11th time this season.
- Dominic Taccolini and Zach Jackson combined to hold LSU to its lowest run total of the season.
- The Razorbacks improve to 8-1 when holding opponents to two runs or less.
- Arkansas hitters tagged LSU starter Jared Poche’ for a career-high five runs and 10 hits.
- Clark Eagan tied a career-high with three hits and is now tied for the team lead with seven multi-hit games.
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