Tigers hold on

Right-hander Austin Ross fired six solid innings Sunday and relievers Chad Jones and Matty Ott blanked Arkansas over the final three frames as fourth-ranked LSU defeated the seventh-ranked Razorbacks, 4-3, at Baum Stadium.

LSU improved to 36-13 overall and 16-8 in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers are tied with Ole Miss for first place in the overall SEC standings.


Ross (5-5) scattered 10 hits over six innings, limiting the Hogs (31-14, 14-9) to three runs with two walks and three strikeouts. The win was the first for Ross since he defeated Ole Miss on March 29.


“Our pitchers did a tremendous job today against a very competitive Arkansas club,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Austin Ross gave us six good innings, which we really needed today. Chad and Matty were both outstanding in allowing us to hold the lead.”


Jones entered the game in the seventh after Arkansas shortstop Scott Lyons led off with a single against Ross. Jones fanned second baseman Ben Tschepikow and retired first baseman Andy Wilkins on a grounder to second.


After walking leftfielder Jacob House, Jones got third baseman Zack Cox to pop out to shortstop to end the inning.


Ott, who picked up his SEC-leading 11th save of the season, struck out the side for LSU in the bottom of the eighth, and he retired the first two Arkansas hitters in the ninth. Tschepikow singled to keep Arkansas alive, but Wilkins then grounded out to second to end the game.


“I thought it was a great victory for our team, especially after we really didn’t play very well in the first game of the series,” said Mainieri. “I’m proud of our guys for sticking together and earning two wins in a tough environment.”


LSU got on the board first when Blake Dean’s RBI double in the third gave LSU a 1-0 lead, and centerfielder Mikie Mahtook’s sacrifice fly in the fourth increased the margin to 2-0.


The Tigers added two more runs in the fourth on right fielder Jared Mitchell’s two-RBI single off of Arkansas reliever Mike Bolsinger.


Arkansas responded with the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer by Cox, reducing the Tigers’ lead to 4-1.


A two-run homer in the fifth by Wilkins narrowed the gap to 4-3, but LSU's pitching was too strong down the stretch.


LSU plays host to Florida at 7 p.m. Friday in Game 1 of a three-game SEC series in Alex Box Stadium. Arkansas resumes SEC play at Alabama next weekend.

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