FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas lost its first SEC series of the season Sunday, falling to LSU, 2-0, at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks (25-8, 8-4) entered a perfect 3-0 in league series entering the day and were tied atop the entire SEC standings. They remained that way after losses by Auburn and Kentucky on Sunday, but the Diamond Hogs are no longer perfect.
Of course, it was LSU that did it to them. Of course. Arkansas hasn’t beaten the Tigers in a baseball series since 2011.
The Diamond Hogs’ bats simply didn’t show. Eric Walker kept Arkansas hitters from doing anything of consequence, pitching a complete game and giving up just 4 hits and walking 2.
Depending who you ask, he also had some help.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn was ejected at the end of the second inning after Jared Gates struck out looking an inside pitch to end things. LSU (22-11, 7-5) had just taken the lead a half-inning before when Nick Coomes doubled to right field, making it 1-0.
Van Horn was up on the top step of the Arkansas dugout and said something to the home plate umpire. The exchange lasted no more than a few seconds before the ump made the universal “you’re outta here!” signal. Van Horn blitzed from the dugout to get in his face a bit before exiting.
Blaine Knight, who pitched Friday with what others suggested was a moving target, was getting into it with the third-base umpired at the same time. Knight was demonstrative in his displeasure and had to be pulled back by teammates. He ultimately was not ejected.
The Razorbacks never overcame that. Or Walker.
Arkansas brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the ninth after Walker pegged Luke Bonfield with a pitch. But Grant Koch, who finished 0 for 4, struck out, and Dominic Fletcher followed with a groundout, letting LSU leave with an improbable series win.
Grading the Hogs
Arkansas hitters got nothing going against Walker. An average output would have seen the Razorbacks win Sunday because of how well they pitched. But 2 walks and 4 hits simply wasn’t enough.
Jake Reindl was nothing short of excellent in his relief appearance. The best showing of his career, in fact. Josh Alberius was good, too, mostly just unlucky.
The Big Stick + Arm
He kept Arkansas’ chances of winning alive when he entered for Alberius in the fourth. The bases were loaded with one out when Reindl took the hill and he got a strikeout and groundout to keep LSU’s lead at 1-0. He did give up another run in the eighth, but it was after he had been so impressive up to that point.
Stick: Luke Bonfield
Someone has to get it. Bonfield had a knock and a walk. But really? Probably no one.
What’s next for Arkansas?
The Diamond Hogs play at Missouri State in a nonconference game on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. CT in Springfield, Mo. Next weekend, Georgia, near the bottom of the SEC, visits for a three-game set in Fayetteville.