BATON ROUGE, La. – Propelled by Reese Robinett’s pinch-hit three-run homer, No. 5 Arkansas (20-2, 4-0 SEC) erupted for eight runs in the 10th inning to defeat No. 1 LSU (19-3, 2-2 SEC), 9-3, in Friday’s series opener at Alex Box Stadium.
The win was the Hogs’ 15th consecutive, their longest in-season winning streak since Dave Van Horn took over at the helm in 2003. Arkansas also handed LSU, the nation’s unanimous No. 1 team, its first home loss of the season on Friday.
The game, originally scheduled for 7 p.m. but moved to noon due to forecasted inclement weather, began as a pitchers’ duel. Arkansas starter Hunter Hollan and LSU starter Paul Skenes put on a show with their dominance on the mound.
Hollan spun 5 1/3 innings shutout innings, allowing only three hits and a walk while striking out seven. With his strong outing, the lanky left-hander lowered his season ERA to 1.97 over a team-leading 32.0 innings of work on the year.
Skenes, LSU’s ace, fanned 12 over seven innings, but the Razorback offense showed its resiliency by scraping together a run in the top half of the fourth. Josenbeger led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Peyton Stovall’s sacrifice fly to left, which gave Arkansas a 1-0 lead.
Hagen Smith entered in relief of Hollan in the sixth and was equally as dominant. His only blemish came in the eighth when LSU catcher Brady Neal hit a game-tying solo home run. After Arkansas went scoreless to start the ninth, Smith responded by striking out the side in the bottom half of the frame to set the stage for the Razorbacks’ eight-run 10th.
Following a leadoff walk to Kendall Diggs and a one-out walk to Parker Rowland, Robinett pinch hit for John Bolton and delivered. The true freshman hammered a go-ahead three-run home run to left center, putting the Hogs up, 4-1.
The Razorbacks were far from finished, immediately loading the bases and extending their lead to 5-1 on Brady Slavens’ sacrifice fly to right center. After Jace Bohrofen was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, Diggs stepped up to the plate and provided the knockout blow with a no-doubter grand slam to deep right field, giving Arkansas a commanding 9-1 lead.
Smith worked around a one-out homer in the bottom of the 10th to secure the Hogs’ 9-3 series-opening win. The left-hander locked down the final 4 2/3 innings of the ballgame, striking out eight LSU batters in the process.
Due to forecasted inclement weather, Arkansas and LSU are now scheduled to play a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, March 25, with first pitch times set for 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Game one of tomorrow’s doubleheader will be broadcast on SEC Network, while the nightcap will stream on SEC Network+.
With at least one win tomorrow, Arkansas can clinch its fourth consecutive series win against SEC West rival LSU as well as back-to-back series wins in Baton Rouge for the first time in program history.
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