LSU eliminates Arkansas in SEC Tournament semifinals

By: Matt Jones
Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018
Arkansas second baseman Carson Shaddy fields a pop up during an SEC Tournament game against LSU on Saturday, May 26, 2018, in Hoover, Ala.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas second baseman Carson Shaddy fields a pop up during an SEC Tournament game against LSU on Saturday, May 26, 2018, in Hoover, Ala.

LSU 2, Arkansas 1 - Final

Arkansas hit a pair of first-pitch fly outs and a lineout to go down quietly in the ninth. LSU is going back to the SEC Tournament championship game, an event it has owned similar to the way Kentucky has owned the basketball tournament. The Tigers will play Ole Miss tomorrow.

The Razorbacks will head home after a week-and-a-half on the road. Arkansas will host a regional next Friday at Baum Stadium and will learn its competition Monday. The Razorbacks are going to be a top eight national seed by virtue of three good wins on the road trip against Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

Zack Hess is the winning pitcher after taking a no-decision against the Razorbacks in Baton Rouge earlier this month. Isaiah Campbell is the loser despite throwing one of the best games of his career.

The difference in the game was that LSU had a base runner when it hit its home run and Arkansas did not.

We'll have more from Hoover soon.

LSU 2, Arkansas 1 - Middle 9th Inning

Jake Reindl did his job again in the ninth, retiring LSU in order to give the heart of the Hogs' order a chance to tie it or win it. Reindl has retired 11 of the last 12 batters he has faced, and his slider has looked really good today.

LSU 2, Arkansas 1 - End 8th Inning

Arkansas might have wasted its best scoring chance to tie the game in the eighth. Jared Gates and Jax Biggers reached on consecutive one-out singles. Hunter Wilson, who pinch ran for Gates, couldn't go first to third as he had to wait to see if Biggers' hit to right field was going to be caught.

That hurt in the next at-bat because Eric Cole hit one about 3 feet shy of the wall in left field, a near home run that certainly would have been deep enough for a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Carson Shaddy, who is 0-for-12 this tournament, ended the inning with a hit up the middle but right to the second baseman, who was playing a bit more to the right than usual.

Both teams have stranded four runners today and as of now LSU's two-run home run is the difference over Arkansas' solo homer.

If Jake Reindl can get through the top of the ninth without giving up another run, Arkansas will send its 3, 4, and 5 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the inning needing one run to stave off elimination.

LSU 2, Arkansas 1 - Middle 8th Inning

Jake Reindl has pitched well out of the bullpen. He has retired eight of the past nine batters he has faced, with the exception being a hit by pitch.

Sophomore left-hander Nick Bush is replacing Zack Hess in the eighth. This is the same change LSU made in the eighth in Game 1 in Baton Rouge earlier this year and Arkansas touched up Bush to take the lead. Can Arkansas replicate that? It will be up to the bottom of the order to start things in the eighth.

LSU 2, Arkansas 1 - End 7th Inning

Arkansas just doesn't look comfortable against Zack Hess. Luke Bonfield worked a full-count walk with one out, but Dominic Fletcher struck out on a couple of bad swings and Casey Martin fouled out to end the inning.

Hess' pitch count is 98, so it will be interesting to see if he'll come out for the eighth, especially given the fact that he initially warmed up about four hours ago. Arkansas has only one hit and two walks against him.

LSU 2, Arkansas 1 - Middle 7th Inning

Third baseman Casey Martin made two outstanding defensive plays in the seventh, charging a bunt up the third base line to rob Hal Hughes of a single and charging a roller in the grass toward short to throw out Brandt Broussard on might have been an infield hit.

Arkansas will send the heart of the order - Heston Kjerstad, Luke Bonfield and Dominic Fletcher - to the plate in the seventh.

LSU 2, Arkansas 1 - End 6th Inning

Eric Cole drew a two-out walk when he didn't chase a 3-2 pitch that Zack Hess threw well outside, but he was stranded when Carson Shaddy flied out to deep right field to end the inning. Shaddy is 0-for-11 in this tournament as the No. 2 hitter.

Hess struck out Jared Gates and Jax Biggers on off-speed deliveries to start the inning. He had to pitch through a pretty steady rain that is still falling, but the teams are going to play on. Arkansas could use a rain delay because it would get Hess out of the game. His pitch count is 83.

LSU 2, Arkansas 1 - Middle 6th Inning

Jake Reindl put out the fire despite giving up a single. His slider struck out Nick Coomes on a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

Arkansas got a big defensive play from Grant Koch, who caught Antoine Duplantis trying to steal second on the first pitch from Reindl. Carson Shaddy did a nice job of picking the ball off the dirt and applying the tag.

The Razorbacks' home run from Jared Gates is their only hit of the game. The top of the order will come back to the plate this inning, so it will be interesting to see if Arkansas can make some adjustments against Zack Hess. It was the third time through the order that Arkansas touched him up a little in Baton Rouge.

LSU 2, Arkansas 1 - Top 6th Inning

After another LSU single, Isaiah Campbell's brilliant outing is suddenly over. That has been the story with him for much of the season since he came back from the elbow injury in April - good early, then falls apart the second or time through the order.

Jake Reindl, who had the critical error in Game 2 at LSU earlier this season, is on in relief. Reindl made a name for himself with a long outing against the Tigers last year in Fayetteville.

LSU 2, Arkansas 1 - Top 6th Inning

Isaiah Campbell gave up consecutive hits to start the sixth, including a two-run home run by Zach Watson to deep left field. Brandt Broussard reached on an infield hit to start the inning.

Campbell fell behind 3-1 against Watson, then hung a fastball high over the plate and Watson turned on it.

This reminds a little of Campbell's outing in Baton Rouge earlier this year when he was almost untouchable for 3 2/3 innings, then was touched up and took the loss after being pulled in the fifth.

Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - End 5th Inning

Both pitchers are locked in, which is a little surprising given how long both have been warm today. Both have allowed only one hit.

Zack Hess has retired eight straight, including Grant Koch swinging at an 80 mph changeup to end the bottom of the fifth. He has four strikeouts today.

Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - Middle 5th Inning

This might be the best Isaiah Campbell has looked during his time at Arkansas. He has it all working - the fastball, slider and breaking ball - and has retired 10 consecutive LSU hitters. Campbell and catcher Grant Koch are doing a great job of mixing pitches and keeping the LSU hitters off balance.

He struck out Jake Slaughter swinging at a 78 mph breaking pitch for the first out of the fifth, then caught Bryce Jordan looking at an 81 mph slider away. The inning ended when Hal Hughes grounded out on a slow roller to Jax Biggers at shortstop. The field is really wet, which slowed the ball down, but Biggers did a good job of charging and getting Hughes by a step at first base.

That was the first ball hit at Biggers since he re-entered the lineup yesterday - pretty incredible for the shortstop position.

Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - Middle 4th Inning

Isaiah Campbell looks really good today, especially with his fastball. He has been keeping it low in the zone, which just led to back-to-back groundouts to end the fourth. He also struck out Austin Bain on a good looking 0-2 breaking ball at the knees.

Campbell has allowed one hit and one walk, and has five strikeouts. His pitch count is 59.

Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - Bottom 3rd Inning

Jared Gates just took Zack Hess deep to center field and Arkansas has the lead. Hess left a fastball over the plate for Gates, who hit his fourth home run this season but first since a March 25 game at Florida.

Arkansas 0, LSU 0 - Middle 3rd Inning

The restart time has been scheduled for 5:45 p.m., which will make the delay right around 90 minutes. Both starting pitchers have been in the bullpen area, so it seems likely both will come back out after the delay.

Arkansas will bat and will send Grant Koch, Jared Gates and Jax Biggers to the plate when play resumes.

Arkansas 0, LSU 0 - Middle 3rd Inning

Every day at the SEC Tournament has experienced a rain delay and here comes another. The tarp is on the field and lightning has been detected in the area, meaning this will be at least a 30-minute delay that should last past 5 p.m.

Isaiah Campbell had his first 1-2-3 inning in the third with a couple of swinging strikeouts and a pop up to second base. He pitched through the rain in the final at-bat against Antoine Duplantis.

Campbell has four strikeouts today and the third was good for his pitch count, which sits at 49.

Arkansas 0, LSU 0 - End 2nd Inning

LSU right-hander Zack Hess is having a lot of success with his changeup so far, including a lot bad contact from the Razorbacks. There were two infield popups toward the first base side in the second, and another out via a groundout to the shortstop.

Hess has not allowed a base runner through two innings and has only thrown 23 pitches.

Arkansas 0, LSU 0 - Middle 2nd Inning

Isaiah Campbell is having to throw quite a bit of pitches - 33 so far - but he looks good so far with a fastball that is running 92-95 mph and pretty good bite to his off-speed pitches.

He worked around a two-out single by Bryce Jordan in the second inning, which ended when Hal Hughes fouled out on a sky-high pop up to the first baseman.

Arkansas 0, LSU 0 - End 1st Inning

Arkansas went down in order against Zack Hess. Eric Cole flied out to deep left field, but Carson Shaddy popped up on the next pitch while trying to sneak a bunt. Heston Kjerstad swung out on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning.

Arkansas 0, LSU 0 - Middle 1st Inning

Isaiah Campbell worked around some early command issues to strand a runner at second base. Campbell went walked two-hole hitter Antoine Duplantis after falling behind 3-0, but a good stop and throw by Casey Martin gave the Razorbacks two outs and Campbell struck out clean-up hitter Daniel Cabrera in three pitches with a fastball at the knees sandwiched between a couple of good off-speed pitches. Cabrera went down swinging on a breaking ball low in the zone.

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.