LSU 7, Arkansas 4
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas put several runners on base against the nation's best team Saturday, but couldn't bring enough home.
The Razorbacks stranded 14 runners in a 7-4 loss to No. 1 LSU at Baum Stadium. Arkansas dropped the rubber game in the series and lost for the ninth time in 11 games.
After the Razorbacks pulled within 5-4 on Joe Serrano's RBI single in the eighth inning, the Tigers got two insurance runs with Conner Hale's two-out home run off Jacob Stone in the top of the ninth inning. Arkansas put runners on the corners in the bottom of the ninth, but pinch-hitter Chad Spanberger grounded out to end the game.
"There’s always a point in the year where your team just becomes a team," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "I feel like that these last two games.
"To come back and swing like we did last night and then finish off the weekend, it’s moments like that that makes a team a team."
The Razorbacks (11-11, 1-5 SEC) stranded two runners in each of the final three innings. Carson Shaddy hit into a double play to end the seventh inning and Tyler Spoon grounded out to end the eighth.
"It just seems that's what's been going on," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "It's been one big play or one big hit. "We got down early and scrambled to get back. We had them against the wall and the pitcher made a nice play (on the double play). That was tough."
LSU scored twice off Arkansas reliever Zach Jackson in the top of the seventh inning to extend its lead to 5-1. The Razorbacks responded in the bottom of the inning with a two-run home run by Serrano, who had three RBIs after striking out in his first three at-bats.
Arkansas nearly tied the game twice later in the inning. Spoon had a would-be home run hook just in front of the foul pole and Bobby Wernes had a would-be extra base hit land foul as well.
"We got a couple of big hits but didn't get the hit," Van Horn said. "We had a couple of chances to get it. Spoon almost tied it up."
Serrano, who struck out his first three at-bats, added an RBI single in the eighth inning to pull the Razorbacks within 5-4.
LSU (21-3, 4-2 SEC) never trailed. The Tigers took the lead on a solo home run by Jared Foster in the top of the third inning. It was Foster's second home run of the series after a seventh inning shot Friday night.
Trailing 3-0, the Razorbacks finally plated a run in the bottom of the fifth inning on Spoon's RBI single to score Clark Eagan. It was the only run Arkansas could manage against LSU starter Jake Godfrey, who struck out five batters in five innings to earn the win.
"Jake Godfrey threw his best game of the year, for me," Mainieri said. "He was commanding the strike zone, just pitched awesome."
After pitching seven perfect innings last week in a no-decision at Vanderbilt, Razorbacks starter Trey Killian wasn't nearly as effective Saturday. The junior scattered nine hits in six innings and allowed three runs.
"He didn't have nearly as good stuff as he had last weekend," Van Horn said. "He didn't have command of his fastball. He battled and kept us in the ballgame. He was fighting to stay in and we wouldn't let him."
Jackson and Stone each allowed two runs in relief for the Razorbacks. After Arkansas won the opener, LSU recorded 36 hits over the final two games of the series.
"We need to find (more pitching)," Van Horn said. "We've got to find them in the group we have. That will be interesting to try to find them because so far it hasn't gone very well, obviously."
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