BATON ROUGE -- Catcher Ty Ross delivered a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to propel No. 12 LSU (21-6, 5-3 SEC) to a 2-1 victory over No. 3 Arkansas (22-5, 5-3 SEC) on Saturday night at Alex Box Stadium.
Rightfielder Mason Katz led off the ninth inning with a single to left-center. Following leftfielder's Raph Rhymes's ground out that moved Katz to second, shortstop Austin Nola was walked to set the scene for the fantastic finish. Ross stepped in and slapped an opposite field single to seal the win.
LSU clinched the series with the triumph after taking Game 1 of the series, 10-6, on Friday night. The Bayou Bengals moved to 4-2 in one-run games in SEC play.
The Tigers and Razorbacks will conclude the series at 1 p.m. Sunday as freshman right-hander Aaron Nola (3-1) takes the mound for LSU.
"What a tremendous ball game in front of a great crowd; it was college baseball at its best, " said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "I can't say enough about the determination of our team to compete so hard on every pitch and earn a second win over the third-ranked team in the country. We've won the series, and I'm very proud of that, but I think our players realize that tomorrow is another very important game for us."
|Georgia def. Kentucky 7-6 (G1)
Tennessee 4, Alabama 2 (Susp. in B6)
Florida def. Ole Miss 9-4
Vanderbilt def. South Carolina 12-4
Auburn def. Mississippi St. 10-6
Kentucky def. Georgia, 9-8 (G2)
LSU def Arkansas, 2-1
|Alabama at Tennessee, 11 a.m. (G2 resumes)
Florida at Ole Miss, 11:30 a.m.
Arkansas at LSU, 1 p.m.
Kentucky at Georgia, 1 p.m.
Alabama at Tennessee, 1 p.m. (G3, 7 inn.)
Mississippi St. at Auburn, 1 p.m.
South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 1 p.m.
All Times Central
Both starting pitchers were spectacular and set new career highs for strike outs, although neither factored into the final decision.
LSU starter Ryan Eades (4-1) worked 7.1 innings, allowing five hits and one run while tying his career-high with eight strikeouts. Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek pitched seven innings, permitted six hits and one run with one walk and a career-best 10 strikeouts.
"Ryan Eades gave us another courageous effort - he gives us everything he has on every pitch, and that's all you can ask for as a coach," Mainieri said.
Reliever Chris Cotton (3-0) picked up the victory after entering the game in the eighth inning and recording five outs. Barrett Astin (2-1) was charged with the loss after allowing the winning run in the ninth.
LSU leftfielder Raph Rhymes added three hits and his team leading 33rd RBI.
The Tigers got off to fast start in the first frame. Second baseman JaCoby Jones led off the inning with a single to left and moved to third on first baseman Grant Dozar's single. After Katz struck out, Rhymes ripped a single up the middle to plate Jones and moved Dozar to second.
Arkansas responded in the top half of the second. Eades plunked Matt Reynolds to lead off the inning. Reynolds stole second and moved to third on Jimmy Bosco's ground out. Derrick Bleeker knocked a two-out single to left to score Reynolds from third.
Cotton entered the game with one out and a runner on first in the eighth after Eades's career-high eighth strikeout. Cotton fanned Dominic Ficociello before Tim Carver was thrown out attempting to steal second. Cotton continued his stint into the ninth and retired the side in order to set the stage for the bottom of the frame.
LSU 2, Arkansas 1 (Mar 31, 2012 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Arkansas............ 010 000 000 - 1 5 1 (22-5, 5-3 SEC)
LSU.................... 100 000 001 - 2 8 0 (21-6, 5-3 SEC)