Impossible became improbable then not likely and all of sudden doable.
And maybe, just maybe, LSU’s stunning back-from-the-dead performance Saturday night at Baum Stadium could morph into a much-needed turning point.The Tigers, left for dead after 6 innings and with very little reason for hope, found a way to claw back for a 10-8 victory over surging Arkansas to even the series at a game apiece.
Two runs scored on a two-out error when Kramer Robertson rolled into what looked like a game-ending groundout but Razorbacks’ shortstop Jax Biggers airmailed the throw into the stands.
Robertson scored himself when Greg Deichmann – who helped stoke the fire an inning earlier with a two-run home run – chopped a single to second baseman Carson Shaddy, who slipped down.
All of the above was precipitated by a bases-loaded hit batter (Cole Freeman) and a wild pitch that pulled the Tigers within a run.
All of that was followed by a hairy bottom of the 9th inning when Hunter Newman walked the leadoff man, surrendered a double to put runners at second and third base with no outs and then set down the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 hitters in the Arkansas lineup to preserve the unlikely victory.
Just like that, the comeback was complete.
Down 7 runs with an offense floundering like it has been for most of the last three weeks and suddenly there seems to be something to build on.
Deichmann and Jordan Romero were a big part of the rally, each with RBI hits and Romero also belted a home run. Nick Coomes came off the bench and produced two hits in two at-bats and scored two key runs.
As big as anything, an often maligned LSU bullpen was stingy, with Collin Strall, Austin Bain, Todd Peterson Andrew Beck and Newman teaming up for 5.2 innings of work with only three hits and one run allowed to pick up starter Jared Poche after he gave up seven runs in 3.1 innings.
The comeback, which featured the Tigers (21-11, 6-5 SEC) scoring the final nine runs of the night, began innocently enough in the 7th inning when Romero pumped a one-out single to left field. With two outs, Josh Smith lined a double to right-center to trim the deficit to 8-2.
Coomes got the 8th inning rolling when he punched a double down the left-field line and moved up on a wild pitch. Antoine Duplantis walked and Freeman drove a run home on a ground ball. After Kramer Robertson fouled out for the second out, Deichmann turned on a 2-and-1 offering and sent a rocket over the fence in right-center to close the gap to 8-5.
Beck took over on the mound and worked around a catcher’s interference, passed ball and wild pitch by inducing a ground ball against Dominic Fletcher that first baseman Jake Slaughter scooped up and threw to the plate for the second out.
Robertson squashed the inning when he sprinted to a hot shot in the hole, dropped to a knee to field and threw Shaddy out at first base to save at least one more insurance run from scoring.
That set the table for the LSU 9th when Smith was plunked with one out, Chris Reid drew a walk after falling behind 0-and-2 and Coomes dropped a single to left field to load the bases and gets the wheels turning with the HBP, wild pitch, etc.
The teams wrap up the series at 2 p.m. Sunday, with Tigers’ freshman Eric Walker (3-0, 3.03 ERA) on the mound against senior righty Josh Alberius (2-3, 3.64).