No. 1 Tigers win big in finale, take series from Arkansas

LSU's Gavin Dugas (8) celebrates after his home run with Jordan Thompson (4) in the bottom of the second inning of the first NCAA college baseball game of a doubleheader against Arkansas, Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Baton Rouge, La. (Michael Jouhnsom/The Advocate via AP)

A break between games did little to cool LSU’s lineup Saturday. 

The top-ranked Tigers defeated third-ranked Arkansas 14-5 in the second game of a doubleheader at Alex Box Stadium to win the three-game series. LSU won 12-2 in seven innings earlier in the day. 

The Tigers (21-3, 4-2 SEC) won their first series over Arkansas since 2018.

"They are awfully talented," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "I'm disappointed in the way we played today. I just didn’t think we fielded the ball very well, especially the second game. Obviously we didn’t hit well with runners in scoring position. 

"We’ve got to get better, that’s for sure, if we’re going to be competing with teams like LSU."

More from WholeHogSports: Recap from Game 1 of doubleheader

Tommy White hit two home runs, including a grand slam in the sixth inning, to help power LSU. White, the clean-up hitter who hit 27 home runs last season at North Carolina State, finished with 7 RBI. 

LSU coach Jay Johnson called White's performance "spectacular" after he went hitless against the Razorbacks on Friday. 

"What a rebound performance," Johnson said on the Tigers' post-game radio show. "I wasn't surprised. I communicated with him a little bit last night and knew who was going to be showing up today.

"That was a legit response by a great competitor today."

The Tigers out-hit Arkansas 11-9. They recorded 26 runs and 27 hits in 14 innings during the doubleheader.

"We only have three losses on the season, and after those three losses there’s been an outstanding performance," Johnson said. "It was a great day for our team this year and a great day for our program."

Arkansas (20-4, 4-2) briefly led twice in the finale. Jared Wegner hit a solo home run and Caleb Cali drew a bases-loaded walk in the first inning to give the Razorbacks a 2-0 lead, and Arkansas went ahead 4-2 in the third inning on a two-run double by Cali. 

Wegner hit a first-inning home run during each game of the doubleheader. He leads the team with 11 home runs.

"Wegner is a terrific hitter," Johnson said.

LSU had an answer in the bottom of each inning that included a run by the Razorbacks. Dylan Crews hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first against Arkansas starter Cody Adcock, and Crews added an RBI single and scored in the third to tie the game 4-4.

The center fielder, who is ranked the best prospect for this year’s MLB Draft by Baseball America, went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI and walked once in the nightcap. He extended his hitting streak to 22 games. 

"He's the best baseball player I've ever seen — not college player I've ever seen, the best baseball player," Johnson said.

Crews finished the series 8 for 13 with 7 runs and 7 RBI. He homered in every game and improved his SEC-leading batting average to .531.

"Crews is an incredible, incredible player that we were all surprised when he didn’t get signed out of high school," Van Horn said. "He really doesn’t have a weak part of his game. I mean, he just doesn’t. He can run, he can throw, hit, hit for power. He’s really good."

LSU took command during a six-run fourth inning. Jordan Thompson tripled to lead off and scored on an error by Arkansas shortstop John Bolton to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead. Gavin Dugas hit a two-run home run and White hit a three-run homer with one out to extend the Tigers' lead to 10-4.

Arkansas pinch hitter Reese Robinett had a fielder’s choice RBI with the bases loaded in the fifth inning to cut LSU’s lead to 10-5. 

Both teams leaned heavily on their bullpen after the starters were chased in the third inning. Adcock allowed 4 runs, 3 hits and 1 walk, and struck out 2 during a 44-pitch, 2 1/3-inning start for the Razorbacks. 

Right-hander Thatcher Hurd allowed 4 runs, 4 hits and 5 walks, and struck out 3 during his 76-pitch, 2-inning start. He was lifted after the first three Arkansas hitters reached in the third. 

Left-hander Griffin Herring steadied things during a two-inning relief appearance for the Tigers, and right-hander Garrett Edwards pitched four scoreless innings. Edwards also threw 10 pitches in the day's first game.

Arkansas left-hander Zack Morris took the loss after the Tigers scored 4 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits and 1 walk against him in 1 inning. 

Arkansas right-hander Dylan Carter allowed 6 runs (5 earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks in 1 2/3 innings. 

Freshman right-handers Ben Bybee and Christian Foutch combined to throw three innings of scoreless relief for the Razorbacks. Bybee, a mid-week starter, pitched two innings in his first appearance in an SEC game.

"He's been pitching with a little bit of courage, so to speak, and just challenging people, throws that breaking ball," Van Horn said. "He made a couple of mistakes and got away with them tonight, and it just seemed like some of the guys earlier didn’t."

Arkansas is scheduled to return home for a game against Nebraska-Omaha on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Razorbacks will return to SEC play next week for a three-game series against No. 25. Alabama that is scheduled to begin Friday.