FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The largest crowd in school history – 10,147 – watched LSU score a single run in the top of the ninth inning to beat No. 9 Arkansas 6-5 on Friday night at Baum Stadium.
The loss drops the Razorbacks (15-7) one game behind Vanderbilt in the chase for the overall SEC lead and to 35-13 overall. The Hogs remain three games up in the SEC West after Tennessee rallied to beat Ole Miss, 3-2. LSU improves to 27-20-1 and 10-11-1 in the SEC.
Nicholas Pontiff singled through the right side with one out in the top of the ninth inning to get the Tigers rally going. Chris McGhee pinch ran for Pontiff and promptly moved up to second base on a wild pitch. Chris Jackson followed with a RBI single up the middle for the go-ahead run.
Travis Hill was credited with the loss to fall to 3-2 on the season. He allowed just the one run on two hits with three strikeouts. He came on in the top of the eight with a runner on third base and just one out and fanned both batters he faced to get out of the inning.
Nick Schmidt worked seven innings and allowed five runs – all earned – on eight hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. The Hogs are now 12-2 in the left-handers starts this season. All five of his runs came with two outs.
The Tigers’ took a 5-2 lead in the seventh inning with a two-out single by Blake Dean. The single scored Pontiff and Jackson. Jackson led the LSU offense, going 3 for 4 with three RBI.
The Razorbacks’ Casey Coon had an answer in the bottom half of the inning. The junior hammered the first pitch into the right-center field gap with the bases loaded to tie the game at 5-5. Coon finished with three hits and his third five-RBI game of the season. He now has a team-high 60 RBI on the season.
Arkansas as a team had only one other hit with pinch-hitter Ben Tschepikow singling up the middle in the seventh inning.
Jared Bradford got the win for LSU to improve to 9-2 even after allowing three runs on two hits with two hit by pitches. Starter Ryan Byrd allowed just two unearned runs on two hits through the first six innings.
LSU opened an early lead with a two-out RBI single to right field by Pontiff that was followed by a two-out double down the right-field line by Jackson to open up a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
A little help from the Tigers got the Hogs right back in the game in the bottom of the third inning. Logan Forsythe’s liner off of LSU shortstop Michael Hollander’s glove kept the inning alive and Forsythe then moved to second on the play when third baseman J.T. Wise threw the ball away. Coon followed with a two-RBI single up the middle.
The second game of the series is slated for a 3:06 p.m. start on Saturday from Baum Stadium. Jess Todd will go to the hill for the Razorbacks and the game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.