Mark Laird singled home pinch-runner Jake Fraley with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning to give LSU a 5-4 victory against Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference game Saturday afternoon at The Box.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU second inning - With one out, Christian Ibarra hit a home run over the leftfield fence. Conner Hale reached on an error by third baseman Bobby Wernes. Hale scored on a double by Chris Chinea. LSU 2, ARKANSAS 0
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LSU fourth inning - With two out, Chinea singled and Andrew Stevenson walked. Chinea and Stevenson scored on a double by Kramer Robertson. LSU 4, ARKANSAS 0
Arkansas fifth inning - Eric Fisher hit a leadoff home run over the centerfield fence. Michael Bernal was hit by a pitch and Tyler Spoon singled. Andrew Benintendi bunted the runners up to second and third. Bernal scored on a sacrifice fly to the centerfielder Stevenson by Joe Serrano. LSU 4, ARKANSAS 2
Arkansas sixth inning - Blake Baxendale singled. Pinch-runner Clark Eagan went to second on a single by Jake Wise. Both runners moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Wernes. Eagan scored on a sacrifice fly to the rightfielder Laird by Fisher. LSU 4, ARKANSAS 3
Arkansas seventh inning - With one out, Benintendi singled. Serrano was awarded first base on catcher's interference by Chinea. Benintendi and Serrano successfully executed a double steal. Benintendi scored when Chinea's throw to third base went into leftfield. ARKANSAS 4, LSU 4
LSU ninth inning - Chinea walked. Fraley moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Stevenson. After Robertson fouled out to the catcher, Sean McMullen was intentionally walked. Fraley scored on a single by Laird. LSU 5, ARKANSAS 4
LSU WASTED SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
Third inning - With two out, Alex Bregman reached on an error by Wernes. Bregman advanced to second on a wild pitch by Jalen Beeks. Kade Scivicque struck out.
TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Laird had the key hit of the afternoon with his two-out single into leftfield which drove home Fraley with the game-winning run. Laird was hitless in his four previous at-bats with two ground outs and a strikeout. Laird reached base in the seventh on an error. He was 0-for-10 prior to his game-winning single.
Jared Poche turned in a solid performance before leaving with two out in the sixth inning. Poche gave up three runs and six hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He held Arkansas scoreless for the first four innings. Poche struck out Baxendale with runners at second and third and two out in the first. In the third, he got Brian Anderson to hit into a force play on a ground ball to the shortstop Bregman with runners at first and second and two out. Poche lost his shutout on Fisher's leadoff homer in the fifth. The Razorbacks put runners on second and third with one out in the same inning, but Poche limited the damage to one more run on a sacrifice fly to Stevenson by Serrano. He got Anderson to end the inning with another fly ball to Stevenson. Poche was in a similar situation in the sixth - runners at second and third with one out. He again gave up a run on a sacrifice fly to Laird by Fisher. With the tying run at third base, Poche was removed from the game.
Brady Domangue protected LSU's one-run lead in the sixth by getting Bernal to line out to Bregman. Hunter Devall, who started the seventh, allowed a one-out single by Benintendi. Serrano was awarded first base on catcher's interference by Chinea. Alden Cartwright was then brought in from the bullpen. Cartwright was the victim of another defensive misplay by Chinea. On a double steal, Chinea threw the ball into leftfield allowing Benintendi to score. With the go-ahead run at third base, Cartwright struck out Anderson and retired Eagan on a ground ball to Bregman. Kurt McCune kept the score tied by pitching around a two-out double by Fisher in the eighth. McCune got Bernal to hit a soft line drive to the third baseman Ibarra. A throwing error by Bregman put McCune in trouble in the ninth. Joe Broussard replaced McCune with the go-ahead run at second with one out. Broussard got out of the trouble by getting Serrano to ground out to the second baseman Robertson and striking out Eagan after intentionally walking Anderson. Broussard got credit for his first victory of the season when LSU scored in the bottom of the ninth.
Chinea was the catcher with Scivicque the designated hitter. For the second straight game, Hale started at first base and Robertson at second base. . .Chinea and Stevenson were the lone LSU players with two hits. Chinea had his first multiple-hit game since March 21 against Georgia. He did not have a hit since that game against the Bulldogs. Stevenson extended his hitting streak to four games. He is 6-for-12 in the last four games. . .Laird's game-winning single was the only hit from the top three batters in the lineup. Both McMullen and Bregman were 0-for-4. . .Hale was also hitless in four plate appearances. . .LSU stranded seven runners, four in scoring position. The Tigers were 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position. . .Beeks, Arkansas' starting pitcher, gave up four runs and seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in eighth innings. Razorbacks closer Michael Gunn yielded the winning run. That run was the first earned run allowed by Gunn this season. . .Wernes, the Arkansas third baseman, made three errors. . .Both Domangue and Devall had made just one previous appearance against a SEC team this season. . .LSU committed three errors - two by Chinea and one by Bregman. This was the first time this year that the Tigers made more than two errors in a game. . .For the second straight weekend, Chinea was called for catcher's interference. Chinea got away with another catcher's interference earlier Saturday. . .LSU has now won nine of the past ten series against Arkansas. The lone series defeat for the Tigers against the Hogs occurred in 2011. . .LSU extended its winning streak to seven games. The Tigers are 27-8-1 overall, 8-5-1 in the SEC. . .Arkansas is 21-15 overall, 6-8 in the SEC. . .The paid attendance was 10,642. The actual crowd was 5,431.
FROM THE CLUBHOUSE
"This wasn't a crisply played game. It was probably our poorest defensive game of the year and not just because of the errors. But, who is perfect? Resiliency is what matters to me. It's how you bounce back after your mistakes. Chinea had a rough inning on defense. Then, he goes and draws a tough walk to start the ninth. There is something special about getting that hit and you get to watch the other team walk off the field. That type of win bonds a team. It gives the players confidence and enthusiasm as they go forward."
"It was not Poche's best performance, but he gutted it out and got us into the sixth inning. We got a lot out of some guys in the bullpen who had not had many opportunities in SEC games like Domangue and Devall and Cartwright. I shudder to think where we'd be without Joe Broussard. He has done everything Chris Cotton did for us last year. Joe has alleviated all the concerns I had about the closer's role at the start of the year."
"I was down in the count and I was expecting a fast ball. We were expecting Gunn to throw the ball up in the zone. I was looking for a fast ball. I put my foot down and went with it. I let the pitcher give the power. He was throwing about 92. I just put the barrel on the ball. I didn't have a hit today, but you can't get down on yourself. You have to keep your confidence and just try to help the team out."
LSU will play go for the series sweep against Arkansas at The Box on Sunday at 1 p.m. Kyle Bouman (3-1) will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers. The LSU-Arkansas game will be broadcast on CST.