Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LSU comes back, avoids sweep at Arkansas
Arkansas' Heston Kjerstad retreats toward third base while caught in a rundown during a game against LSU on Saturday, May 11, 2019, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE After two days of Arkansas comeback victories, LSU returned the favor Saturday.
LSU right fielder Antoine Duplantis hit a three-run home run off Arkansas reliever Jacob Kostyshock with one out in the eighth inning to give the No. 17 Tigers their only runs in a 3-2 victory over the No. 4 Razorbacks in front of 8,978 on an overcast Saturday afternoon at Baum-Walker Stadium.
LSU (31-21, 15-12 SEC) avoided a series sweep and snapped a five-game losing streak.
Arkansas (39-13, 19-8) missed an opportunity to take the overall lead in the SEC standings and possibly clinch a share of the SEC West championship in its regular-season home finale. The Razorbacks have a two-game lead over Mississippi State in the division entering the second game of the Bulldogs' series at Ole Miss on Saturday night.
The Razorbacks put a runner on base with one out in the bottom of the ninth after Casey Opitz drew a walk, but pinch runner Curtis Washington could advance. The game ended when Trevor Ezell struck out looking a 1-2 fastball from LSU reliever Todd Peterson.
Arkansas stranded eight base runners.
LSU 3, Arkansas 2 - Middle 9th Inning
The Tigers went down in order in the top of the ninth inning. The Razorbacks' last chance will begin with pinch hitter Jordan McFarland.
LSU 3, Arkansas 2 - End 8th Inning
Nothing for the Razorbacks in the eighth inning. Jack Kenley got a ball in the wind and drove it to the warning track in left field for the final out. Dominic Fletcher out on a popup to the third baseman Hal Hughes in foul ground and Heston Kjerstad grounded out to third.
Due up for Arkansas in the bottom of the ninth will be the bottom of the order, Jacob Nesbit, Casey Opitz and Christian Franklin. Arkansas' Marshall Denton will have to work through the bottom of the LSU order in the top of the inning.
LSU 3, Arkansas 2 - Top 8th Inning
Antoine Duplantis just took Jacob Kostyshock deep on a 0-1 fastball that landed in the LSU bullpen. The Razorbacks' many stranded base runners are haunting them right now.
Arkansas 2, LSU 0 - Top 8th Inning
Jacob Kostyshock is coming into the game with one out and two LSU base runners in the eighth inning. He will face the heart of the LSU order, beginning with the great LSU senior Antoine Duplantis.
Cody Scroggins allowed a leadoff single and a one-out walk to put runners on first and second base.
Arkansas 2, LSU 0 - Middle 7th Inning
Cody Scroggins issued a one-out walk to Chris Reid, and Reid advanced to second base on a wild pitch. But Scroggins got out of another jam with a popup by Zach Watson and a strikeout of Saul Garza, who swung through a 3-2 slider for the final out of the inning.
Jacob Kostyshock and Matt Cronin are up in the bullpen for the Razorbacks. Arkansas will send Christian Franklin, Trevor Ezell and Casey Martin to the plate in the bottom of the seventh.
Arkansas 2, LSU 0 - End 6th Inning
The Razorbacks came away empty handed after loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jacob Nesbit hit a grounder that led to a force out of Dominic Fletcher at the plate, then Casey Opitz hit into an inning-ending 5-2-3 double play to strand two runners.
Arkansas has left six on base today.
Arkansas 2, LSU 0 - Bottom 6th Inning
The Razorbacks have back-to-back doubles against Landon Marceaux and have taken a two-run lead.
Matt Goodheart doubled off the fence in left field to lead off the inning, and Dominic Fletcher followed with a double to right-center field to score Goodheart. Fletcher has 21 doubles this season, which leads the SEC.
Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - Middle 6th Inning
Put a gold star next to Jack Kenley's catch to end the top of the sixth inning, a hard line drive by Daniel Cabrera that caused Kenley to get up on his tip toes, but not quite leap. It stranded two base runners in scoring position against Cody Scroggins, who retired the Tigers' 3 and 4 hitters in succession.
Connor Noland is now in line for the win after a 5 1/3-inning start in which he allowed four hits and no runs. Noland has thrown 22 consecutive innings without an earned run at home.
Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - Top 6th Inning
The Razorbacks are going to the bullpen trying to preserve a 1-0 lead.
Connor Noland allowed a leadoff single to Hal Hughes in the sixth and exits the game after Hughes advanced to second base on a groundout to the right side of the infield.
Cody Scroggins is the new Arkansas pitcher. If he can work through this jam unscathed, Noland would be in line for a victory.
Scroggins will face Brandt Broussard and Antoine Duplantis, the Tigers' Nos. 2 and 3 hitters.
Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - End 5th Inning
Two freshmen with high ERAs are locked in a pitcher's duel this afternoon at Baum-Walker Stadium.
LSU's Landon Marceaux has worked around base runners most innings, but has the Tigers within a run entering the sixth inning. Marceaux gave up a two-out single to Trevor Ezell in the bottom of the fifth, but the inning ended when Casey Martin flied popped up to shallow right field.
Marceaux has allowed five hits today. Connor Noland has allowed three for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - Middle 5th Inning
Giovanni DiGiacomo singled with one out, but Saul Garza hit into an inning-ending double play to get Connor Noland back to the dugout with another quick inning. Counting today, Noland has thrown 21 2/3 innings without an earned run in his last four starts at home.
Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - End 4th Inning
Connor Noland is pitching well, but the Razorbacks aren't giving him much of a cushion. It isn't for a lack of opportunities.
Dominic Fletcher and Heston Kjerstad reached with consecutive singles in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Jack Kenley hit into a double play and Jacob Nesbit grounded out to strand the Razorbacks' third base runner.
Noland retired all three batters he faced in the top of the inning. He has retired five straight. He has only thrown 56 pitches to record 12 outs.
Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - End 3rd Inning
Connor Noland gave up a one-out single, but stranded the runner in another strong inning. He has struck out three batters and hasn't issued a walk.
Casey Martin singled with one out in the bottom of the inning, but he was out when he committed to running toward second base on a throw that was errant, then had to scramble back to first.
Both teams have two hits.
Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - End 2nd Inning
Arkansas missed on a good opportunity to score in the second inning. Jacob Nesbit's bunt put runners at second and third base with one out, but Heston Kjerstad was caught in a rundown between third and home on a softly hit ball by Casey Opitz, and Christian Franklin flied out to right field to end the inning.
Connor Noland retired LSU in order in the top of the inning. As has been the case most of the year, he looks really comfortable pitching here in Fayetteville.
Arkansas 1, LSU 0 - End 1st Inning
Trevor Ezell drew a leadoff walk, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Matt Goodheart's RBI fielder's choice to give the Razorbacks the first run of the game.
Arkansas' Connor Noland worked around a two-out Antoine Duplantis single in the top of the inning. Noland also had an error on a bad pickoff attempt, and Duplantis was stranded at second base when Daniel Cabrera grounded out.
Arkansas will send Connor Noland (2-3, 4.39) to the mound to face LSU's Landon Marceaux (3-2, 7.04) in a battle of freshman right-handers.
The Razorbacks (39-12, 19-7) will be looking to sweep the Tigers (30-21, 14-12). Arkansas could clinch the SEC West with a win today and a Mississippi State loss this weekend to Ole Miss.
It is overcast with some precipitation, and cool, but the teams will play through the weather and start on time.
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