Arkansas’ time in Hoover, Ala., is over. And, really, it’s probably all for the best.
The Razorbacks were eliminated in the SEC Tournament semifinals Saturday by LSU, 2-1. Arkansas managed just 3 hits in the loss and now heads back to Fayetteville to find its NCAA Tournament fate. Arkansas undoubtedly will be a national seed, meaning it will host a regional at Baum Stadium next weekend.
Now, Dave Van Horn and his team can get an extra day of rest in preparation. They looked out of sync against the Tigers. Jared Gates, who has started fewer than half the games this season, was the only Razorbacks batter with a hit until the eighth. His solo home run just after a nearly 90-minute rain delay opened the scoring in the third inning.
Other than that, it was limited. Arkansas had singles from Gates and Jax Biggers — the 8- and 9-hole hitters in the lineup Saturday — in the eighth to threaten. But a flyout and a fielder’s choice ended things.
Other than that, Arkansas was rather listless.
Its pitcher, Isaiah Campbell, was matching LSU’s Zack Hess at every turn for the first 15 outs. LSU had just 1 hit, too, through five innings. The sixth inning, the Tigers lineup caught up with Campbell. In such a tight game, it only took 2 hits.
Brandt Broussard started the sixth with a single and Zach Watson followed with a home run. Just like that, LSU was ahead. When Antoine Duplantis followed Watson’s homer with another single, Campbell’s night was finished.
Jake Reindl kept LSU at bay the rest of the way. Problem was Arkansas could do nothing with the bats. Eric Cole walked with one out in the sixth. Luke Bonfield did the same in the seventh. Neither time….
Opponents for the Fayetteville Regional will be learned Monday at 11 a.m. CT. Some of the most likely teams to visit Baum Stadium include Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri State, Dallas Baptist and Oral Roberts. Only three will be in Fayetteville, but the odds of some combination of those is quite high.
Two hits. That’s all that kept Arkansas from playing in the SEC title game for the second straight year.
Two singles and a home run? Nearly an F.
The Big Stick + The Arm
He struck out 7 and only allowed 5 baserunners in 5 innings. Tough luck loss for Campbell.
Two of the 3 hits means this is an easy choice.
Sit and wait. Arkansas will host the Fayetteville Regional next weekend as part of the NCAA Tournament. Opponents will be learned Monday around lunchtime.