Arkansas baseball walks off LSU in the 10th to win series

Arkansas left fielder Will Edmunson (19) celebrates at home plate with designated hitter Nolan Souza after scoring the game-winning run during the 10th inning of a game Friday, March 29, 2024, in Fayetteville. (Hank Layton/NWA Democrat-Gazette)

FAYETTEVILLE — Will Edmunson reached on a one-out fielding error in the bottom of the 10th inning and scored on Hudson White’s double to give the No. 1 Arkansas baseball team a 4-3 victory over No. 7 LSU in front of 11,156 at Baum-Walker Stadium on Friday. 

The Razorbacks (22-3, 7-1 SEC) took their fourth series over the Tigers (20-8, 2-6) since 2019 and will go for a series sweep Saturday at 2 p.m.

Arkansas won its 16th game in a row at home, which tied the record for most consecutive victories at the 29-year-old stadium. The 1997 Razorbacks also won 16 in a row. 

“It was just a great game,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “I’m really proud of the team, the way they fought.” 

White’s double was fair inside the left-field line past LSU third baseman Tommy White and scored Edmunson from first base. Arkansas players poured out of the dugout and the bullpen to mob White, a Texas Tech transfer, after his first game-winning hit as a Razorback. 

“When I stepped up to the plate, I was just looking for something up and over the plate, and that’s what I got,” White said. “I was able to put a swing on it. Will is a really good baserunner and he was able to score.”

Edmunson hit a grounder at LSU shortstop Michael Braswell but the ball went under his glove to give the Razorbacks a one-out base runner. Edmunson was sent home by third-base coach Nate Thompson and slid headfirst into home plate, ahead of the relay throw from Braswell. 

“We felt really fortunate that we had a runner on first with one out and some guys that were confident coming to the plate,” Van Horn said. “I just felt like White had swung the bat well all night….I felt good about him getting a hit. I didn’t know he was going to hit a double, but I liked the matchup there.”

The unearned run was charged to LSU right-hander Thatcher Hurd, who entered for the 10th inning after lefty reliever Griffin Herring shut down the Razorbacks for 4 2/3 innings. 

Arkansas had a chance to win the game against Herring in the ninth inning. Louisiana native Peyton Stovall led off with his second double of the game, but the Razorbacks opted not to attempt a bunt that could advance him to third base and he was stranded at second. 

“If I bunt him over, they’re probably going to walk the next two guys and you’ve got a double play set up and you’re a little farther down the lineup,” said Van Horn, who added, “Yeah, it might’ve worked. It might not have. [Ben McLaughlin] was frustrated that he didn’t get [Stovall] over, but the team picked him up the next inning.”

The Razorbacks also missed on a prime scoring chance when a bunt did not work out in the seventh. Wehiwa Aloy singled and advanced to third with one out, but was out at the plate when Jared Sprague-Lott's safety bunt was fielded cleanly by first baseman Jared Jones and gloved to catcher Hayden Travinski. 

Arkansas was 5 for 24 with runners on base, 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11. 

LSU went ahead 2-0 in the top of the third inning on a two-out RBI single by Josh Pearson that scored Tommy White and Steven Milam. 

Arkansas answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth and went ahead 3-2 on RBI doubles by Ty Wilmsmeyer and Ben McLaughlin and a Stovall RBI ground out. 

Stovall went 3 for 5 with 1 RBI from the leadoff spot. 

LSU loaded the bases with no outs against Arkansas starter Mason Molina in the sixth but reliever Christian Foutch limited the damage to one run on Ashton Larson’s sac fly. 

Foutch, Gabe Gaeckle and Stone Hewlett combined for five scoreless innings from the Arkansas bullpen, which lowered its ERA to 3.22 and its WHIP to 1.08 in 109 innings. 

“It’s as elite as it gets,” LSU coach Jay Johnson said of the Razorbacks’ relief staff. “They do a phenomenal job in recruiting. I often say they recruit better than anybody in college baseball. Foutch, electric arm. Gaeckle’s one of the top players in the country to make it to school and not sign in the draft last year. And Hewlett’s got a little niche.”

Hewlett struck out Pearson in a left-on-left situation to strand a base runner at first base in the top of the 10th. Hewlett lowered his WHIP to 0.50. He has pitched in Arkansas' last five games and has retired all seven batters he has faced. 

“That his job: come in and get a lefty,” Van Horn said. “He could do it three times on a weekend. It doesn’t bother him a bit.”

Molina allowed 3 runs, 7 hits and 3 walks and struck out 7 in a 5-inning no-decision. He called LSU's lineup “really good.”

“They will hit any of your mistakes,” Molina said. “Definitely one of my tougher outings, but I feel like controlled the zone pretty well and we were after hitters in the right way. That’s really all you can ask for.”

LSU ace right-hander Luke Holman also took a no-decision with a 4 1/3-inning start that included 3 runs, 5 hits, 5 walks and 5 strikeouts. Holman entered the game with a 0.78 ERA and 0.78 WHIP. 

“He’s going to pitch for a long time but we had some success tonight because we fouled off a lot of pitches,” Van Horn said. “We took our walks and got his pitch count up, but you could see why he’s probably their No. 1 pitcher.”

Herring recorded eight strikeouts in relief of Holman. The Tigers’ pitchers had 14 strikeouts and the Razorbacks had 12. 

Both teams finished with nine hits. Arkansas turned two double plays.

“LSU is a really good team,” Van Horn said, “but we just found a way tonight.”