Hoover, Ala. | Hoover Met
SEC Network | Sirius/XM 91, LSU Sports Radio Network
RHP Austin Bain (2-2, 2.96) vs. RHP James Teague (4-3, 3.42)
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Arkansas has won both of its SEC Tournament games this year in the ninth inning, including a 7-6 victory late last night against Florida to advance into the winner’s bracket. The Razorbacks jumped out to an early 3-0 lead Wednesday, but that lead quickly evaporated as Florida answered with 3 runs of its own in the bottom of the inning. The Gators with get 3 more in the fifth before Arkansas began its comeback. The Razorbacks picked up 1 in the seventh, before erupting for 3 in the ninth to pull off the one-run victory.
Before that, Arkansas beat Tennessee on Tuesday in walk-off fashion, 2-1, to stay alive in the tournament.
LSU also had a one-run victory to advance to this game. The Tigers beat Auburn, 9-8, on Wednesday, overcoming a five-run deficit to pull off the win.
WHAT’S ON THE LINE
The winner of tonight’s game gets an all-important bye into the semifinals. Should LSU win this one, they’d get Friday off before playing again Saturday with a chance to advance to the championship game. The loser would have to win three games in three days to win the title.
That’s massive for the pitching staff. Few teams, if any, have the arms to make it through that gauntlet, and a day off Friday would give the winning team its full bullpen to work with moving forward.
WHEN THEY LAST PLAYED
LSU won two out of three games when these teams met in Fayetteville during the second week of the SEC season. The Tigers clinched the series in the third game after splitting the first two. LSU got two RBI each from Mark Laird, Alex Bregman and Conner Hale with a combined seven hits by Chris Sciambra and Andrew Stevenson to get the 7-4 clinching victory.
LSU had to win two straight after dropping the opener. Jared Poché struggled mightily in the first game, giving up 5 runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings as the Tigers went on to lose 5-1.
But LSU bounced back in the second game to even the series. The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and went out to rack up 21 hits in a 16-3 shellacking. LSU got 4 runs on 7 hits against James Teague, the starting pitcher they’ll face Thursday.
LSU will face James Teague to start Thursday. He faced LSU when the two teams met during the regular season, surrendering 4 runs and walking 2 in 3 innings of work. He started 8 games for Arkansas during the season with a 3.42 ERA.
Arkansas had to use six pitchers in Wednesday’s victory against Florida, including ERA leader Zach Jackson, who’s now pitched in both of the Razorbacks’ SEC Tournament game. All but one of the relievers to appear Wednesday through 27 pitches or less, so most would be available for light work if needed against LSU.
Some pitchers that could appear Thursday: Lance Phillips (2.42 ERA), Josh Alberius (2.86) and Jackson Lowery (3.76).
BATTERS TO WATCH
Joe Serrano, LF | SEASON: .276 BA, .385 SLG, .369 OBP, 28 RBI, 40 R
Andrew Benintendi, CF | SEASON: .403 BA, .760 SLG, .502 OBP, 52 RBI, 54 R
Tyler Spoon, RF | SEASON: .327 BA, .498 SLG, .370 OBP, 45 RBI, 30 R
Rick Nomura, 2B | SEASON: .311 BA, .464 SLG, .389 OBP, 15 RBI, 36 R