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May 23, 2013Ryne Stanek and Colby Suggs combined for a six-hitter as Arkansas defeated LSU 4-1 in a winners' bracket game of the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday evening at Hoover (Ala.) Metropolitan Stadium.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU third inning - With two out, Sean McMullen singled and Mark Laird singled. Laird was safe at second when shortstop Brett McAfee made a throwing error on Alex Bregman's ground ball. McMullen scored from second base on the error. LSU 1, ARKANSAS 0
Arkansas fifth inning - With one out, Jean Ramirez singled. Joe Serrano doubled home Ramirez. ARKANSAS 1, LSU 1
Arkansas eighth inning - Matt Vinson singled. After Brian Anderson flied out to Laird in rightfield, Vinson moved to third on a single by Dominic Ficociello. Vinson scored on a safety squeeze single by Tyler Spoon. ARKANSAS 2, LSU 1
Arkansas ninth inning - Eric Fisher had a leadoff single. Pinch-runner Jacob Morris moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by McAfee. After Jake Wise struck out, Morris stole third base without a throw. An infield single by Serrano off the foot of pitcher Will LaMarche drove home Morris. Serrano stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch by LaMarche. Serrano scored on a bunt single by Vinson. ARKANSAS 4, LSU 1
LSU WASTED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
Second inning - With one out, Raph Rhymes singled. Rhymes moved to second when Christian Ibarra was thrown out by the catcher Ramirez on a topped ball in front of the plate. Tyler Moore grounded out to second base to end the inning.
Fourth inning - With two out, Moore and Ty Ross walked. Both runners moved up a base on a passed ball by Ramirez. Andrew Stevenson walked to load the bases. McMullen flied out to centerfield.
LSU HITTING STAR
There was no Tigers player who stood out at the plate. Six players had a single. Moore was the only starter to reach base twice - a walk in the fourth and a single in the sixth. LSU had few scoring opportunities against Stanek in his eight innings. The Tigers were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Against a pitcher the caliber of Stanek, someone must deliver a timely hit.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Aaron Nola did his best to get LSU into the semifinals. He allowed one run and six hits in seven innings. The Razorbacks never got a runner past first base against Nola. Arkansas' run was the result of a single and a double. Nola walked one and struck out eight. For the fourth time this season, Nola picked up a no-decision. Nola had won his last eight starts going back to the Mississippi State game on March 15.
Simply put, the Tigers relievers failed to do their job. None of the four relief pitchers retired every batter he faced. Joey Bourgeois, who allowed the go-ahead run in the eighth, gave up two singles sandwiched around a fly out. Nick Rumbelow was on the mound when the go-ahead run scored on a perfectly-executed safety squeeze bunt by Spoon. Rumbelow got two outs on a caught stealing by Ross and a strikeout. Kurt McCune yielded a leadoff single in the ninth. With a runner on second and two out, McCune was replaced by Will LaMarche. Arkansas scored two runs without hitting the ball past the mound. After an uncontested steal of third, a base hit off LaMarche's foot brought in a run. Following a steal and a wild pitch, a bunt single drove in a second run.
Twelve LSU batters came to the plate with a runner on base. The only one to come through with a hit was Laird in the third. Ross and Stevenson drew walks with a runner on base. . .Ibarra, Ross and Stevenson were the three starters without a hit. Ibarra, who was 0-for-4, has just three hits in his last 27 official at-bats. Both Ross and Stevenson went 0-for-3. Ross is now 1-for-his last 12, while Stevenson is 2-for-his last 20. . .Bregman extended his hitting streak to five games with a single in the seventh inning. . .LSU did not get a runner past first base in the final five innings. . .The last seven Tigers hitters went down in a row. . .Stanek, who beat LSU 8-3 in Fayetteville last month, gave up one unearned run and six hits in eight innings. . .Suggs, who threw a perfect ninth, tied the Arkansas record for saves in a season with twelve. . .The Tigers have scored one run in their last 16 innings in the SEC tournament. . . Arkansas got 12 hits - half off the LSU bullpen. Vinson and Spoon each had three hits. . .LSU is 49-9. The Tigers have a 10-8 record in games in which they score fewer than five runs. Arkansas is 37-19. The Razorbacks will be off Friday and will play either LSU or Alabama in a semifinal game at noon Saturday.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri
"Stanek was very good tonight. He showed why he's going to make a lot of money in this game at the next level. We had some opportunities against him, but we couldn't come up with the big hit at the right time. We just didn't take care of the scoring chances that we had. He was throwing a lot of off speed pitches when he was behind in counts. That really surprised us. We thought he would challenge us a little bit more."
(on Aaron Nola's outing) "I thought Aaron pitched his heart out. He was fantastic. When you give a guy a week's rest, you're concerned about fast ball command in the first game back. I thought his command was slightly off tonight. It took a few more pitches than normal for him to get guys out. Aaron had a 20-pitch first inning and it was a shutout inning. The difference in the game was me not being able to go to the eighth inning with him and they stayed with their guy for that inning."
"Stanek pitched a great game. We were expecting that. He's been great all year. He made clutch pitches throughout the game. He got quick outs and we couldn't pull through. It's win or go home now. This is when it gets fun. We have to play a team. No one said it would be easy. I'm looking forward to it."
"I felt good. My body and mind were refreshed. I didn't have my fast ball command like I usually do. I made some clutch pitches when I needed to."
LSU will play Alabama in an elimination game of the SEC tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. The Crimson Tide (34-25) eliminated Ole Miss 7-5 in ten innings in the first game Thursday morning. Ryan Eades (8-1, 2.70 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers.