Arkansas-LSU split twinbill on Saturday
FAYETTEVILLE – Dallas Keuchel was brilliant in game one as the No. 7 Arkansas baseball team split a double header with No. 4 LSU on Saturday night at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville, taking game one by a score of 11-4, and dropping the second, 5-0.
Arkansas (31-13, 14-8 SEC) drops to ½ game behind both LSU (35-13, 15-8 SEC) and Ole Miss in the Southeastern Conference standings by splitting Saturday’s games.
After a 22 ½ hour delay to the start of the highly anticipated series, first pitch for game one came at 5:02 p.m. central on Saturday and led to more than six hours of exciting baseball. The Razorbacks would fall behind early in the series opener but rode a brilliant pitching performance by Keuchel to the victory as Arkansas pounded 11 hits off LSU ace Anthony Ranaudo and the Tiger pitching staff. Game two of the series witnessed an equally impressive pitching performance, this one by LSU’s Louis Coleman who threw a complete game two-hit shutout against the Hogs.
Down by two after the top of the first in game one, Arkansas cut its deficit in half on an Andy Wilkins home run, his 14th of the season. LSU would score in the top of the fourth to again take a two-run lead, but a four-run bottom of the fourth gave the Hogs an advantage that it would never look back from. A two-RBI double by Brett Eibner tied the game at three and was followed several batters later by a two-RBI single to right field by Chase Leavitt.
While Arkansas’ offense was in high gear for game one, it was the pitching of Keuchel that was the story. Arkansas’ ace outdueled the SEC’s strikeout leader by tossing a career best 8.1 innings while scattering five hits and allowing three earned runs. Following an opening inning two-run home run, Keuchel was masterful as he worked quickly and efficiently to earn his seventh win of the season and sixth in SEC play.
Arkansas would score four runs in an inning twice in game one to build their insurmountable advantage. The Razorback seventh inning saw Zack Cox deliver a two-RBI single up the middle and a pair of additional runs come across the plate on an error and ground out.
Six of Arkansas’ starting position players picked up hits in game one with Eibner driving in three runs on two hits. Tschepikow led the hit parade with three, two singles and a double, while Scott Lyons also contributed a pair of hits.
Game two was not nearly as kind to the Razorbacks as game one as Coleman shut down the Razorback offense. Cox picked up Arkansas’ first hit in the second inning before Coleman retired 19 straight Razorbacks. Jacob House delivered a pinch hit double in the eighth inning for Arkansas’ only other hit.
Arkansas starting pitcher T.J. Forrest allowed three runs in the top of the first inning and the Tigers never looked back. Settling in, Forrest would throw 5.1 innings and allow four earned runs before handing the ball off to Sophomore Sam Murphy who completed the game by throwing 3.2 innings and striking out a career best six batters.
Arkansas and LSU will complete their three-game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. at Baum Stadium. The game is set to be broadcast on Cox Sports. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.