Arkansas Squares Baseball Series With Comeback, 14-13

Blake Dean his two home runs for the Tigers
Blake Dean his two home runs for the Tigers (@LSUsports) (@LSUsports)
LSU Sports Interactive

BATON ROUGE -- Arkansas rebounded from an early 9-0 deficit to post a 14-13, 10-inning win over LSU  Saturday in Alex Box Stadium.

A solo shot by Arkansas’ Tim Smalling in the top of the 10th capped a dramatic comeback for the Razorbacks (14-7), who were down by nine by the end of the third inning.

Two home runs by Blake Dean, as well as long balls by Matt Clark and DJ LeMahieu weren’t enough as the Tigers (13-7) dropped to 1-4 in SEC play.

“We were our own worst enemy today,” said LSU head coach Paul Mainieri. “That’s not to take anything away from Arkansas. We were just walking batters, hitting batters and making errors that allowed Arkansas back in the game. It’s hard to know what to say after a game like that.”

The Tigers offense was in full gear early. After Arkansas starter Shaun Seibert struck out Ryan Schimpf and Michael Hollander to begin the game, Dean and Clark hit back-to-back home runs to right center field, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Derek Helenihi smashed a double to right center field in the second, and the Tigers got on the board again when Micah Gibbs knocked him home with a single.

Clark followed his home run with a drive through the right side of the infield in the third. Matt Gaudet walked and Leon Landry hit a double to right field. The relay throw made it to Arkansas catcher Ryan Cisterna in time, but he dropped the ball, allowing Clark and Gaudet to score. Landry advanced to third on a wild pitch, and was brought home on a double by Helenihi.

Shaun Seibert was pulled in favor of Justin Wells, who gave up a three-run homer to LeMahieu  The Tigers scored six runs in the third, taking a 9-0 lead.

The Razorbacks made a strong effort to make a game of it in the fourth. Ryan Byrd, LSU’s starting pitcher, got into trouble by walking Logan Forsythe, allowing Casey Coon to reach on a fielder’s choice and hitting Aaron Murphree to load the bags with only one out. He walked Smalling to bring home the Razorbacks first run of the game. He then struck out Ryan Cisterna before Ben Tschepikow hit a bases clearing triple down the right field line. Chase Leavitt brought him home, and advanced to second on a bad throw by LeMahieu.

Jordan Nicholson relieved Byrd, who gave up five runs on five hits while striking out two. The first pitch Nicholson threw was wild, allowing Leavitt to advance to third. Eibner walked, and then Nicholson was called for a balk, allowing Leavitt to score. Nicholson was quickly replaced with Jordan Brown, who finally ended the six-run inning.

Dean smashed his second home run of the day in the fourth to the same spot as his first. Landry was robbed of his first home run of his collegiate career when Leavitt made an attempt to catch the ball, knocking it back into the field of play. However, his hit did bring Clark home, giving the Tigers an 11-6 lead.

The Razorbacks put the heat on the Tigers again, forcing Brown to walk three straight batters in the top of the fifth before he gave up a bloop single to pinch-hitter Jacob House that brought home a run. Tschepikow added a sacrifice fly for his fourth RBI of the day. Leavitt walked to load the bases once again, but Eibner grounded out to end the inning.

Gibbs drilled a shot to left field, and scored on a triple by Schimpf in the fifth. Schimpf came home when Hollander hit a grounder up the middle, making the game 13-8.

Daniel Bradshaw came on in relief in the sixth inning. In the seventh, he gave up a walk before giving up an RBI double to Tschepikow. Thomas Hauskey then knocked Tschepikow in to cut the Tigers lead to only three. He got Forsythe to strike out to end the inning.

Jared Bradford came on for the Tigers in the eighth. However, Landry made an error in center field when he dropped a fly ball, allowing Coon to reach second. He advanced to third on a fly by Wilkins and scored when Murphree was thrown out at first after the next at-bat.

Bradford pitched the Tigers out of the eighth. However, in the ninth, Hauskey, Eibner and Forsythe hit back-to-back-to-back singles, and Forsythe’s was misplayed in right field, allowing Hauskey to score, cutting the Tigers lead to one. Wilkins delivered a sacrifice fly to score the tying run. The Tigers didn’t manage to win the game in dramatic fashion in the ninth, sending the game to extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, Smalling hit a solo home run to put the Razorbacks in the lead. LSU couldn’t pull off another walk-off win, giving the Razorbacks a 14-13 victory. Bradford (4-2) was credited with the loss, as he allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in three innings with no walks or strikeouts.

Wells (1-0) earned the win, working the final 7.1 innings for the Razorbacks. The right-hander was charged with five runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Wells allowed only two LSU hitters to reach base over the final five innings.

Clark finished the day going 3 for 4 with an RBI and three runs. Helenihi went 2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI. Gibbs went 2 for 3 at the plate with two runs and an RBI.

The series will conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Alex Box Stadium.

Arkansas 14, LSU 13 (Mar 22, 2008 at Baton Rouge, La.)

Arkansas............ 000 620 212 1 - 14 18  1      (14-7, 2-3 SEC)
LSU.................... 216 220 000 0 - 13 14  5      (13-7, 1-4 SEC)
Pitchers: Arkansas - Shaun Seibert; Justin Wells(3). LSU - Ryan Byrd; Jordan Nicholson(4); Jordan Brown(4); Daniel Bradshaw(6); Jared Bradford(8).
Win-Justin Wells(1-0)  Loss-Jared Bradford(4-2)  T-3:35  A-7874
HR AR - Tim Smalling (3).
HR LSU - Blake Dean 2 (6); Matt Clark (10); DJ LeMahieu (4).
Actual Attendance:  4,026
Nicholson faced 1 batter in the 4th.



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