Tigers fall in 10th to Arkansas 6-5

LSU rallied from deficits of 4-0 and 5-2 to send its game with Arkansas into extra innings, but a bases loaded walk to Kirk McConnell in the bottom of the 10th inning gave the Razorbacks a 6-5 win over the Southeastern Conference champion Fighting Tigers on Saturday night at Baum Stadium, knotting the final regular season series at one game each.

The Tigers (36-18-1, 19-9-1), who clinched the SEC championship by defeating the Razorbacks (34-17, 14-15) 11-3 on Friday, close the regular season with Sunday's 1 p.m. series finale. LSU opens play in the SEC Tournament in Birmingham at 8 p.m. Wednesday against an opponent to be determined.

Arkansas will qualify for the eight-team tournament field with a win over LSU on Sunday or a loss by either Florida or Tennessee.

Razorback reliever Scott Roehl struck out the side in the top of the 10th, and in the bottom of the 10th, LSU reliever Greg Smith hit Ryan Fox in the foot with a bouncing pitch with one out, and then gave up a single to Clay Goodwin.

Billy Sadler came in to reliever Smith to face Scott Briges, and then the Razorbacks immediately moved both runners up with a double steal, and after throwing two balls to Bridges, Sadler completed the intentional walk to bring up pinch hitter Kirk McConnell with the bases loaded.

Sadler threw three consecutive balls to McConnell, and after throwing a strike on his fourth pitch, came in low to send home Fox with the winning run.

LSU is now 0-4 in extra inning games this season, losing earlier this season to Kansas, Tulane and Vanderbilt.

Aaron Hill collected his third hit of the night when he led off the ninth inning with a solo home run off of Scott Roehl into the Arkansas bullpen in left field to cut the Razorback lead to 5-4.

Roehl fanned Clay Harris on three pitches, but then gave up a ground ball single to Blake Gill to put the tying run on base. Jon Zeringue then doubled off of the left field fence to put Gill at third base, and then Gill would score when he came home on J.C. Holt's slow roller, and Holt would reach safely when Goodwin's throw went over Haas Pratt's head at first base, moving Zeringue to third.

Arkansas kept the game tied, though, when Ivan Naccarata hit into an inning-ending double play.

The Razorbacks grabbed a 1-0 lead when Nick Pitts scored on a throwing error by Tiger second baseman Gill, who was attempting to turn an inning-ending double play on Pratt's ground ball. Arkansas did not get a hit in the inning, as LSU starter Bo Pettit walked Pitts and Andrew Wishy with one out.

Pettit walked the leadoff batter in the second, Ryan Fox, and then gave up a base hit to Goodwin before a sacrifice bunt by Scott Bridges moved both runners into scoring position for Scott Hode, who delivered a two-run single in front of LSU center fielder Bruce Sprowl.

Pettit struck out Chris Williams for the second out, and then threw an 0-2 pitch in the dirt that Pitts checked his swing on and bounced past catcher Matt Liuzza. Home plate umpire Dennis McComb did not immediately ask for help on the call, and after several seconds, third base umpire Tony Walsh said that Pitts did swing.

But by this time, the ball had rolled past Liuzza to the backstop, and by time Pitts reached first, Hode had scored to make it 4-0.

LSU cut the Razorbacks' lead in half to 4-2 in the third on solo home runs by Ryan Patterson and Harris, but gave one of the runs back in the bottom of the same inning when Goodwin singled home Toops.

Pettit walked six batters and gave up five earned runs on five hits in six innings in taking his second consecutive no decision against Arkansas.

Zeringue's RBI single in the fifth cut the Arkansas lead to 5-3, and the Tigers seemed poised to cut further into the lead in the sixth when Liuzza headed home on Patterson's hit. Williams' throw to the plate appeared to arrive just after Liuzza got his foot onto home plate, but from his position 15 feet up the third base line, McComb called Liuzza out to end the inning.

The Tigers got two runners on base with two out in the eighth with Patterson at the plate, but Roehl fanned Patterson to end the inning.

Arkansas starter Jay Sawatski gave up 11 hits in his 6 2/3 innings and struck out seven, but his fourth win of the year went out the window when the Tigers scored the tying run.

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