Tigers take down Arkansas, 7-2

Aaron Nola tossed a gem, the LSU offense collected 12 hits and the Tigers find themselves one win away from the SEC Tournament Championship Game.

LSU followed a familiar formula to a 7-2 victory Thursday against Arkansas in the SEC Tournament.

Start with Aaron Nola surrendering only two runs — one earned — on five hits with seven strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Sprinkle in 12 hits as a team with multiple runs driven in by Mark Laird and Tyler Moore, then turn it over to the bullpen to hold it the rest of the way.

That combination resulted in the Tigers' second win of the week and gave them an off day before Saturday's game to determine who heads to the championship game.

For Nola, it was more of what LSU fans have grown accustomed to in his three years on campus.

But he did actually have a rough go at it in the bottom of the first, walking a pair and giving up an unearned run. After Clark Eagan's leadoff single, Brian Anderson drove one to left field. Sean McMullen's throw went home, and Anderson attempted to take second. Moore's throw was in the dirt, Kramer Robertson couldn't scoop it and Eagan put the Razorbacks ahead 1-0.

Nola walked each of the next two batters — one intentionally — to load the bases, but induced a grounder to short stop to strand all three.

That was just about all the success Arkansas would have off Nola. He retired the next 13 batters he faced before Andrew Benintendi singled with one out in the sixth. Nola then sat down the next six before walking Eagan with one out in the eighth.

Nola gave up two singles after that to load the bases before giving way to Nate Fury, who let the run come in on a sacrifice fly.

Meanwhile, the LSU offense spotted Nola all the run support he'd need in the first three innings.

Moore tied the game 1-1 with a solo home run to deep right field in the top of the second. The Tigers scored two more in the third on RBI singles by Chris Chinea and McMullen.

The Tigers added a run in each of the sixth and seventh innings — the first coming on a double by Moore and the other courtesy of some heads-up base running. With Laird on third, Jake Fraley popped out over the third base dugout, but nobody covered home. Laird tagged up and beat the catcher to the plate.

Laird drove in two more in the eighth with a hard shot off the Arkansas shortstop.

The Tigers will now await the winner of Friday's rematch between Arkansas and Ole Miss. That game will be Saturday at noon.

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