HOOVER, Ala. - The red-hot Razorbacks had the league's best pitcher up against the ropes in the first inning Thursday, but could not land a shot on his chin.
Instead LSU ace Aaron Nolan wiggled out of a bases-loaded situation with just a run and went on to hurl the Tigers past Arkansas 7-2 in the third round of the SEC Tournament.
Nola (10-1) would allow just five hits and a pair of runs while fanning seven and pitching into the eighth inning of a match-up between teams that had both won their last five games.
"It was a tough loss for us," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. "We knew runs would be hard to come by facing Aaron Nola. We had an opportunity in the first, got a sacrifice fly from Brian (Anderson). He hit the ball really hard there. You just don't get too many shots at him (Nola). We have another day tomorrow. We will see what happens."
The win moves LSU (42-14-1) into a Saturday semifinal against either Kentucky or Mississippi State while Arkansas (37-22) must face Ole Miss Friday at 3 p.m. in an elimination game.
The Razorbacks have won 8 of their last 10 games with great pitching and just enough runs.
Arkansas' Clark Eagan, who scored both of the Razorbacks runs, led off the bottom of the first with a single and eventually scored when Brian Anderson singled and an error allowed him to race home.
Eric Fisher was intentionally walked by Nola and Tyler Spoon then walked to load the bases with two outs.
Nola then got Bobby Wernes to ground out to end the frame with Arkansas up 1-0.
LSU tied it 1-1 in the second when Tyler Moore blasted a long home run off of Arkansas starter and loser Colin Poche (3-1).
The Tigers then chased Poche and took a 3-1 lead with RBI singles from Chris Chinea and Sean McMullen.
Landon Simpson relieved at that point and gave Arkansas a solid effort by pitching 4 1/3 innings of relief and Alex Phillips pitched the final two innings.
The Tigers scored single runs in the sixth and seventh and a pair in the eighth to put the game away.
Nola cruised from that point until the eighth, when he left after loading the bases with one out.
Nate Fury relieved at that point and allowed Anderson's sacrifice fly, but ended the threat after that.
LSU closer Joe Broussard then closed out the game with an uneventful ninth.
Van Horn announced after the game that Dominic Taccolini would start for Arkansas on Friday.
Arkansas players discuss the loss at the post-game press conference.
LSU 7, Arkansas 2
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