Tigers can't follow up

At first glance, Game 2 between the LSU Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks had every indication of a high scoring affair. With a stiff breeze consistently blew to left field and LSU's most famous home run hitter, Warren Morris, in attendance, conditions were ideal for balls to leave the park.

But the pitchers on both teams made sure the balls stayed inside Alex Box Stadium.  In the end, a few timely hits by the Razorbacks and missed opportunities at critical times by the Tigers gave Arkansas the 4-2 victory over LSU.

 

"With the wind blowing out like this, I thought we'd have ten runs by each team," Matt Liuzza said

 

That thought was felt by LSU starting pitcher Louis Coleman, who did all he could to keep hits on the ground.

 

"Before the game, coach [Smoke Laval] told me to expect some balls to go out," Coleman said. "Today I just stressed keeping the ball down."

 

LSU took an early lead in the first inning when Razorback starting pitcher Trey Holloway walked Liuzza with bases loaded to give the Tigers the 1-0 advantage.

 

Coleman held the lead through three innings, but in the fourth inning, Danny Hamblin took the first pitch he saw from Coleman over the left field wall to even the score at one apiece.

 

LSU retook the lead in the fifth inning on a Bruce Sprowl RBI base hit to center field. 

 

As they did in the first game of the series, Arkansas would not fold.  The Razorbacks tied the game at 2-2 in the eighth inning with an RBI single by David Hum.

 

Both teams had opportunities to blow the game open, but could not capitalize with runners on base.

 

In the first inning, with base loaded and one out, Jordan Mayer grounded into a double play to end the inning and LSU's scoring threat.  The Tigers hit into another inning ending double play in the seventh with runners on first and second.

 

"We really didn't put together a complete game," Liuzza said. "We had our pitching on-line, but with our hitting, we were a little too passive at the plate.  That's not our game, we usually don't do that."

 

Liuzza said the team stared down a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate, adding that they normally would swing at those pitches.

 

"We swing, and we swing early if its there," Liuzza said. "But today, we weren't swinging the bat. When we did swing we hit it alright, but we were just a little too passive."

 

"Nobody really swung the bats well today," Laval said. "I've got to give their pitcher a little credit, but we left 11 guys on base and didn't get good swings off.  It's like I've been saying, which guys are going to show up?"

 

Arkansas also had their share of struggles with clutch hitting.  With men on first and second and one out, the Razorbacks failed to lay down a successful bunt, killing the momentum in the inning.

 

Arkansas, though, was able to take advantage of their scoring opportunity in the top of the ninth inning. 

 

Craig Gentry's RBI double gave the Razorbacks the lead, and he was brought home by the next batter.

 

The Tigers had one final chance in the bottom of the inning, but Nicholas Pontiff, hitting for J.T. Wise, grounded to second with two runners on base.

 

Coleman pitched 7.2 innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits.  He was replaced by Jonathan Wilhite, who gave up the two runs in the top of the ninth innings.

 

Wilhite (1-1) received his second consecutive decision in two games.

 

Arkansas pitcher Devin Colis (6-1) received the victory after only giving up one hit and no runs in the eighth and ninth innings.

 

Although Coleman did not earn the win, he and his teammates were pleased with the outing he had.

 

Coleman said the one area he wants to focus on is falling behind on the count.  Coleman said he fell behind often and had to struggle to prevent the walk or the big hit.

 

"Louis was down the entire time," Liuzza said. "[Arkansas] was just hitting ground balls right at us.  That's all you can ask from him."

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