BATON ROUGE, La. – No. 11 Arkansas struggled at the plate and on defense Sunday afternoon in a 7-5 loss to LSU as the Tigers captured the series in front of 2,473 fans at Alex Box Stadium.
The Razorbacks committed three errors in the scorebook and had other costly defensive miscues while the UA bats managed just seven hits and left eight runners on base.
The loss drops Arkansas to 31-14 on the season and 11-10 in Southeastern Conference play headed into a showdown with league-leading Alabama next weekend at Baum Stadium. LSU improves to 8-13 in conference action and 29-17 overall.
The win went to Tigers’ reliever Edgar Ramirez who worked a season-high 4.1 innings and allowed just one run on four hits. He struck out six and walked three to improve to 2-0 on the season. LSU’s third baseman Will Harris pitched the ninth inning for his first save of the season.
The Hogs’ fourth pitcher Brett Bollman (0-3) took the loss. He pitched 1.2 innings, allowing two runs – one earned – on four hits while striking out two.
A throwing error by Parker at third base led to the Tigers’ game-winning run in the seventh inning as he fielded a Quinn Stewart ground ball and threw it into the LSU dugout. Steven Waguespack lined a RBI single to right field two batters later to put the Tigers on top for good at 6-5.
LSU tacked on another run in the eighth inning as Harris was credited with a double off Parker’s glove at third base that came around to score on a RBI single to left by Michael Hollander.
UA starting pitcher Shaun Seibert’s day was short lived as the Tigers teed off for four hits in the first 2.1 innings. He was pulled after Michael Hollander’s RBI single through the left side in the third inning. Charley Boyce came on and got T.J. Wise to ground to third base, Blake Parker got the out at second base, but the wide throw kept second baseman James Ewing from completing the double play.
That proved costly as the SEC’s leading home run hitter Stewart connect on a 0-1 pitch from Boyce for his 20th home run of the season. The shot to left-field gave the Tiger’s a 3-0 lead through three innings.
Seibert was tagged with two of the runs on four hits while striking out three on 46 pitches.
The Razorbacks mounted a rally in the top of the fourth and got a little help from Stewart in right field. Jake Dugger and Ewing both singled to leadoff the inning and Danny Hamblin was hit by a pitch to load the bases. On a full count, Wayne Hrozek lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Dugger and Ewing then came around to score on Stewart’s wild throw into the Hogs’ dugout.
LSU’s starter Daniel Forrer then hit Chris Hollensworth and followed that with a strikeout of Brian Walker before Tigers’ skipper Smoke Laval went to the bullpen. The right-handed Ramirez then came on to face the right-handed Parker, who promptly lined a two-RBI single up the middle to give Arkansas a 4-3 lead.
The lead didn’t last long as the Tigers struck back in the bottom of the fourth with three straight hits off Boyce and a fielding error by Craig Gentry in center field to tie the score at 4-4. That would end Boyce’s afternoon after just two-thirds of an inning. He allowed two runs on four hits.
LSU loaded the bases in the sixth inning but Arkansas had appeared to get out unscathed when Brian McLelland struck out Will Harris and Bruce Sprowl hit a ground ball to shortstop. But Matt Willard bobbled the sharp grounder to his left and was charged with an error when Sprowl was ruled safe on a bang-bang play at first base. It scored the go ahead run as LSU took a 5-4 lead.
Arkansas knotted the game at 5-all in the seventh inning with a two-out RBI single to center field by Ewing.
Ewing went 3 for 5 on the day with an RBI while Dugger and Parker both collected two hits to account for all of the Hogs offense.
The Razorbacks travel to Oral Roberts on Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. game with the Golden Eagles that will be televised by Cox Sports (channel 119 on Cox digital cable in Northwest Arkansas).