Aaron Nola threw a complete-game four-hitter and Sean McMullen hit a three-run homer to lead LSU to a 6-2 victory against Arkansas on Friday night at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU fifth inning - JaCoby Jones and Andrew Stevenson singled. Jones was forced at third by Ty Ross. McMullen hit a home run over the rightfield fence. LSU 3, ARKANSAS 0
LSU sixth inning - With one out, Christian Ibarra reached on an error by shortstop Brian Anderson. Jones was hit by a pitch. Both Ibarra and Jones moved up a base on Stevenson's ground out to first base. Ross singled home Ibarra and Jones. LSU 5, ARKANSAS 0
Arkansas seventh inning - With two out, Dominic Ficociello walked and Eric Fisher hit a home run over the right centerfield fence. LSU 5, ARKANSAS 2
LSU ninth inning - Stevenson reached on an error by third baseman Jacob Mahan. Ross bunted Stevenson to second base. McMullen walked and Mark Laird reached on an error by the second baseman Ficociello to load the bases. Stevenson scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Bregman. LSU 6, ARKANSAS 2
LSU WASTED SCORING CHANCES
Second inning - With one out, Mason Katz singled and went to third on a single by Ibarra. Jones struck out and Ibarra was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Third inning - Stevenson struck out, but reached first on a wild pitch by Barrett Astin. Ross forced Stevenson at second base. McMullen walked. Laird grounded out to the pitcher and Bregman flied out to rightfield.
LSU HITTING STARS
McMullen and Ross had the two big hits for the Tigers. McMullen hit his first home run of the season with two men on base and one out in the fifth. McMullen, who has now hit safely in six consecutive games, also walked three times. Ross gave LSU a 5-0 lead with a two-out, two-run single in the sixth. Ross now has hits in four of the last five games in which he has played.
LSU STARTING PITCHER
Nola turned in the first complete game by a LSU pitcher since Kevin Gausman went the distance in a 5-2 victory at South Carolina last May. Nola, who won his sixth game of the year, retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced. He lost his bid for a shutout in the seventh when he walked Ficociello and gave up a home run by Fisher with two out. Arkansas never had a runner past first base. Nola gave up three singles besides Fisher's homer and walked one. He finished with ten strikeouts.
LSU used its normal lineup against the righthanded Astin. McMullen was the designated hitter and Stevenson was the centerfielder. . .Four players besides McMullen extended hitting streaks. Bregman, who singled in the fifth, has hit safely in 23 straight games. Katz and Ibarra extended hitting streaks with second-inning singles. Katz has a hit in 15 consecutive games, while Ibarra has a five-game hitting streak. Jones' fifth-inning single extended his hitting streak to six games. . .Both Laird and Raph Rhymes went 0-for-5 and saw their hitting streaks end. Both Laird and Rhymes had hits in six games in a row. . .LSU had seven hits with no one having more than one. Laird and Rhymes were the lone starters without a hit. . .The Tigers were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. . .Astin was charged with five runs and seven hits in 5.2 innings. . .Three of LSU's six runs were unearned as the Razorbacks, the worst fielding team in the Southeastern Conference, made four errors. . .The Tigers did not commit an error. . .Mahan had two of Arkansas' four hits. . .LSU has won 15 consecutive games - its longest streak since it won 23 straight games in 2008. . .LSU is 33-2 overall and 12-1 in the SEC. Arkansas is 24-11 overall and 8-5 in the SEC. The Tigers remained tied with Vanderbilt for first place. The Commodores defeated Missouri 11-5 on Friday. LSU and Vanderbilt have a four-game lead over Arkansas and Alabama, which lost 6-0 to Ole Miss on Friday.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri
"What I like so much about this team is that we have such balance and excel in all phases of the game. That was certainly evident tonight. Aaron was brilliant on the mound and our defense made some amazing plays behind him. We got the big home run from McMullen, who's been tremendous at the top of the order. I was extremely proud of Ty Ross for coming through with a clutch two-out hit to stretch our lead."
LSU will play Arkansas at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville on Saturday at 6 p.m. Ryan Eades (7-0, 1.30 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers.