Razorbacks down Tigers, advance to SEC Tournament Semifinals
For the second time this season, the Razorbacks took down LSU and the SEC Pitcher of the Year.
No. 4 Arkansas (41-15) tagged Paul Skenes for a season-high five runs in the fourth and held on for a 5-4 win over No. 5 LSU (43-14) on Thursday at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The second-seeded Hogs advance to the SEC Tournament semifinals, where they will play the winner of tomorrow’s elimination game between LSU and Texas A&M at noon Saturday, May 27.
The Razorback tandem of Hagen Smith and Hunter Hollan were dominant on the mound, combining for 17 strikeouts in the win. Smith started and went up against Skenes, outdueling the fellow first-team All-SEC pitcher on Thursday.
Smith, who was on a pitch count, matched his career high with nine strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work. He threw 76 pitches and was charged with just two runs on five hits and a walk before giving way to Hollan.
Hollan was equally as impressive, racking up eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings of relief – his first appearance out of the bullpen this season. The left-hander limited the Tigers to two runs on six hits and a walk, improving to 8-2 this year.
LSU opened a two-run lead, but momentum would swing after Arkansas’ five-run fourth inning. RBI singles from Caleb Cali and Peyton Holt, who won a 10-pitch at-bat, evened the game at two apiece before the Hogs took the lead on a catcher’s interference call with two outs. Jace Bohrofen then ripped a two-run single to put the Razorbacks up, 5-2.
Arkansas’ five-run inning was the highest-scoring inning against Skenes this season, topping a three-run inning by Ole Miss against the LSU right-hander on April 21. Skenes’ five runs allowed matched his season high, which Kentucky also scored against him in a six-inning start on April 13.
LSU chipped away with a run in the eighth and a one-out solo home run in the top of the ninth, closing its deficit to one. Hollan would not give in, however, retiring the final two batters of the game to seal the 5-4 win and punch Arkansas’ ticket to the semifinal round.
The Razorbacks have now advanced to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the sixth time in the last 10 seasons and the second time in the last three years. Arkansas won the tournament for the first time in program history in 2021.
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