HOOVER, Ala. – Second-ranked LSU (49-9) fell to No. 12 Arkansas (37-19) by a score of 4-1 in the SEC Tournament winner’s bracket game Thursday night at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
The Tigers will face Alabama (34-25) in an elimination game Friday at 3 p.m. in a game televised by Cox Sports Television and Comcast Sports Southeast. The game can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, and live video is available at ESPN3.com.
The Tigers defeated Alabama 3-0 on Wednesday in their SEC Tournament opener. Junior right-hander Ryan Eades (8-1) will take the mound for LSU, while Alabama will counter with right-hander Mike Oczypok.
Right-hander Ryne Stanek (9-2) gave Arkansas an excellent outing Thursday night, limiting LSU to one run on six hits in eight innings with three walks and four strikeouts.
“Stanek was very good tonight, and he showed why he’s going to make a lot of money in this game at the next level,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We had some opportunities against him, but we couldn’t come up with the big hit at the right time. We just didn’t take care of the scoring chances that we had.”
LSU right-hander Aaron Nola was solid in his first outing since May 10, allowing one run on six hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
“I thought Aaron pitched his heart out,” Mainieri said. “He was fantastic. When you give a guy a week’s rest, you’re concerned about fastball command in the first game back. I thought his command was just slightly off tonight – it took a few more pitches than normal for him to get guys out.”
In the third inning, LSU shortstop Alex Bregman sent a slow grounder to Arkansas shortstop Brett McAfee, who threw the ball wide of second base, sending designated hitter Sean McMullen home and giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
The Razorbacks answered in the fifth with an RBI double to left-center from designated hitter Joe Serrano against Nola, evening the game at 1-1.
A successfully executed squeeze bunt by Razorback rightfielder Tyler Spoon pulled Arkansas in front 2-1 in the eighth inning.
Arkansas got two more insurance runs on an RBI single from designated hitter Joe Serrano and another squeeze but, this one by centerfielder Matt Vinson.
LSU reliever Joey Bourgeois (3-2), who started the eighth inning, was charged with the go-ahead run on two hits in 0.1 inning.
Arkansas reliever Colby Suggs retired the Tigers in order in the ninth to earn his 12 save of the season.