Arkansas Drops Game Two To Set Up Rubber Match With LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks couldn’t hold a 3-2 lead in the late innings against the LSU Tigers Saturday night at Alex Box Stadium. LSU scored four runs over the seventh and eighth innings and Arkansas left five runners on base over the final five innings, allowing the Tigers to take game two of the three-game series 6-4.
Arkansas (33-14, 14-9 SEC) had battled back from a two-run deficit early on with the help of a two-run home run from Dominic Fletcher in the third and then took the one-run lead on a bases-loaded walk in the fifth, but could only generate one more run the rest of the way.
The Hogs had a chance to add to their lead in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out, but an inning-ending double play cut that rally short. Even with a run in the top of the ninth to cut the LSU (27-20, 11-12 SEC) lead to two, Arkansas still only managed to put two runners into scoring position over the final four frames.
Starting pitcher Kacey Murphy worked around a long first inning and ended up with 6.1 innings pitched and just two earned runs allowed with two walks and five strikeouts on 95 pitches. Murphy had a stretch from the end of the third through the sixth inning where he retired 10 in a row and only needed 39 pitches to do it. Unfortunately, he was saddled with the loss, his fourth of the year.
For Murphy, it was his fifth-straight start of five innings or more and he has only walked four batters over his last 29 innings pitched. After 11 appearances this year, Murphy now has a 5.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 6.7 in conference games.
On the offensive end, the top three in Arkansas’ lineup made up eight of the Hogs’ nine hits in the game. Fletcher and freshman Casey Martin tallied three hits each, while junior Eric Cole turned in a two-hit game of his own to give him five hits for the series.
Cole is now hitting .342 on the year with a team-leading 66 hits. He has at least one hit in eight of his last nine games and has delivered three-straight multi-hit performances.
As for Fletcher, the centerfielder fell just a triple short of the cycle, finishing 3-for-5 with a run scored and two runs driven in. Both of those RBIs came on his third-inning home run, his seventh of the year and fifth in SEC play. Fletcher has now homered in three of his last five games and is hitting .415 over his last 10 games with 11 RBIs. Tonight’s performance was also his fifth game this year with three hits or more and seventh multi-RBI game.
Arkansas and LSU will play a rubber match for the three-game series on Sunday starting at 2 p.m. at Alex Box Stadium. The game will be televised online on SEC Network+.
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