Eric Walker threw a four-hit shutout as LSU defeated Arkansas 2-0 in the rubber game of their Southeastern Conference series at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville on Sunday afternoon.
HOW THEY SCORED
LSU second inning – With two out, Josh Smith walked. Smith scored on a double by Nick Coomes. LSU 1, ARKANSAS 0
LSU eighth inning – Kramer Robertson was hit by a pitch. Cole Freeman reached safely when pitcher Jake Reindl made a throwing error on his bunt. Robertson, who moved to third base on the error, scored on a single by Greg Deichmann. LSU 2, ARKANSAS 0
KEY STRETCH OF GAME
LSU held a 1-0 lead when Arkansas put runners on first and second with one out in the sixth on a single by Chad Spanberger and a walk to Luke Bonfield. Walker got Grant Koch to hit a ground ball to the third baseman Smith, who started a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play. The Razorbacks did not get a runner past first base over the last three innings.
KEY TEAM STATISTICS
LSU outhit Arkansas 6-4. The only extra-base hit in the game was Coomes’ RBI double. . .The Razorbacks committed the only two errors in the game. The throwing error by Reindl resulted in an unearned run for the Tigers. . .LSU stranded six runners – three in scoring position. The Tigers were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position. One of the two hits was a bunt single by Zach Watson. . .Arkansas stranded five runners – three in scoring position. The Hogs were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. . .LSU registered three inning-ending double plays.
INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS
Greg Deichmann: 2-for-4, 1 RBI
Eric Walker: 9 innings, 4 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Josh Alberius: 3.1 innings, 4 hits, 1 runs, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
LSU’S PLAYER OF THE GAME
Walker was spectacular in pitching the Tigers to a series victory. Walker was the first Tigers freshman pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout in two seasons. Alex Lange shut out UNC-Wilmington in the 2015 NCAA regional tournament at The Box. Walker was the first LSU pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout in a SEC game in three years. Aaron Nola shut out Alabama 2-0 in 2014. The last Tigers pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout in the rubber game of a SEC series was Greg Smith against Vanderbilt in 2005. . . The victory was the fourth of the season for Walker, who has yet to lose a game. Walker was aided by double plays in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. In the second, Walker struck out Jared Gates with a runner at second and two out. In the fourth, he got Carson Shaddy to pop out to shortstop with two runners on base and two out.
Romero was the designated hitter and batted cleanup in the lineup. Antoine Duplantis was dropped to ninth in the batting order. Coomes was the starting catcher. . .Watson extended his hitting streak to seven games with a bunt single in the fourth. . .LSU loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, but did not score. Smith flied out to the centerfielder, Coomes struck out and Jake Slaughter grounded out to the third baseman. . .Reindl gave up one unearned run and two hits in 5.2 innings of relief for Arkansas. . .LSU last won the rubber game of a SEC road series against Auburn last April. . .The Tigers have won six straight series against Arkansas. LSU has won 12 of the last 13 series against the Razorbacks. . .The Tigers are 22-11 overall, 7-5 in the SEC. LSU is in fourth place in the Western Division – one game behind Arkansas, Auburn and Mississippi State. . .The Razorbacks are 25-8 overall, 8-4 in the SEC. . .The paid attendance was 9,016.
FROM THE LOCKERROOM
Coach Paul Mainieri’s comments: “Eric (Walker) is a young man with tremendous poise and he pitches with a lot of confidence. He was superb today. Our defense played exceptionally well behind him to keep a very potent Arkansas lineup from scoring. Arkansas probably has the best lineup we’ve seen all season. It’s a credit to our kids that they were able to get a very hard-earned victory.”
LSU will play Louisiana-Lafayette in the Wally Pontiff, Jr. Classic at the ‘Shrine on Airline’ in Metairie on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Central. The Cajuns (18-13-1) and Coastal Carolina played to a 7-7 tie Sunday afternoon in Conway. The game was called after nine innings because of a travel curfew. The teams split the first two games of their Sun Belt Conference series. The LSU-ULL game will be available on Cox Sports Television.