BATON ROUGE, La.- The LSU offense exploded for three home runs and starter Kevin Gausman recorded career-high 12 strikeouts as the Tigers defeated No. 3 Arkansas by a score of 10-6 on Friday night at Alex Box Stadium.
No. 12 LSU moved to 20-6 on the year and 4-3 in SEC play while Arkansas dropped to 22-4 and 5-2 in the conference. The two teams will return to action tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. Ryan Eades (4-1) will take the mound for the Tigers.
The last time LSU hit three home runs in a contest was May 21, 2010 against Mississippi State.
"I know everyone will focus on the three homers, but I thought we had several great at-bats that produced two-out RBIs," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We really swung the bats well against the best pitching staff in the SEC.
"Kevin Gausman really battled all night long and gave us a tremendous effort. Once we took the lead in the fourth inning, he raised his game to another level."
Rhymes, the SEC's leading hitter, totaled four RBI. Second baseman JaCoby Jones registered a career-best four hits in the leadoff spot.
Gausman overcame a rough third inning in which he allowed five runs, but he did not allow a hit after the third. The sophomore's ending line read 6.2 innings, five hits, five runs (five earned), two walks and a career-best 12 strikeouts.
|Tennessee def. Alabama, 10-8
Mississippi St. def. Auburn, 5-3
South Carolina def. Vanderbilt, 8-3
Ole Miss def. Florida, 3-0
LSU def. Arkansas, 10-6
Kentucky at Georgia, ppd.
|Kentucky at Georgia, 11 a.m. (G1)
Alabama at Tennessee, noon
Florida at Ole Miss, 1:30 p.m.
Kentucky at Georgia, 3 p.m. (G2)
Mississippi St. at Auburn, 3 p.m.
South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 3 p.m.
Arkansas at LSU, 7 p.m.
All Times Central
Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale (5-1) lasted 2.1 innings, allowing eight hits and five runs (five earned) with one walk and four strikeouts. Reliever Cade Lynch (0-1) was charged with the loss after entering the game in the bottom of the third. Lynch pitched 2.1 innings, allowing four runs (four earned) on five hits with one strikeout.
LSU put two runs on the board in the bottom of the second. Shortstop Austin Nola led off the inning with a single just over the shortstop's glove. Catcher Ty Ross executed a perfect hit-and-run with a single to right and Nola reached third easily after running on the pitch.
Centerfielder Jared Foster smashed a two-out grounder through the left side of the infield, scoring Nola and moving Ross to second. Jones plated Ross on a single back up the middle and moved Foster to second.
Arkansas took the 5-2 lead in the top of the third. Gausman struck out Jacob Morris and Tim Carver, but Carver reached first on a wild pitch. Bo Bigham punched a single under Hanover's glove at third and Carver moved to second. Dominic Ficociello slashed a high pop up to center that Jones fielded, allowing Carver to advance to third.
Matt Reynolds laced a double down the left field line, which scored both runners. Bates walked to put two runners on. Bleeker lined a triple to right field to score Reynolds and Bates, and Bleeker came home on a wild pitch.
LSU knotted the game in the bottom of the third. Katz led off the inning with a single through the hole between third and short. Rhymes stepped up and blasted a towering home run to the left field bleachers.
After Nola struck out, Ross crushed a solo shot to tie the game at 5-5. Lynch replaced Baxendale following Ross's homer. Lynch retired Hanover and Didier to limit the damage.
The Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Dozar ripped a two-out double to right field before Katz plated Dozar on a single to left.
LSU increased the lead to 10-5 in the bottom of the fifth. Hanover led off the inning with his first home run since May 21, 2010 versus Mississippi State.
Jones lined a two-out single to right. Dozar nicked a single that neither the second baseman nor shortstop could make a play on. The hit chased Lynch, and new pitcher Colby Suggs plunked Katz to load the bases.
Rhymes delivered a two-RBI single to left, which scored Jones and Dozar and moved Katz to second. Nola slashed a single up the middle and Katz raced home from second to widen the gap.
Arkansas cut into the lead in the top of the seventh. After Gausman exited the game, Kevin Berry came in and allowed a single to Bigham. Ficociello plated Bigham on a double to center that a diving Foster attempted to corral. Chris Cotton entered the game for LSU and recorded the final out to end the threat.
The Razorbacks almost cut into the LSU lead in the eighth. Cotton allowed a leadoff single to Bleeker, who moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a ground out. Nick Rumbelow entered the game and fanned two to preserve the lead.
Kurt McCune pitched a scoreless ninth to maintain the final margin.
LSU 10, Arkansas 6 (Mar 30, 2012 at Baton Rouge, La.)
Arkansas............ 005 000 100 - 6 8 1 (22-4, 5-2 SEC)
LSU.................... 023 140 00X - 10 17 1 (20-6, 4-3 SEC)
Pitchers: Arkansas - DJ Baxendale; Cade Lynch(3); Colby Suggs(5) and Jake Wise.
LSU -Kevin Gausman; Kevin Berry(7); Chris Cotton(7); Nick Rumbelow(8); Kurt McCune(9) and Ty Ross.
Win-Kevin Gausman(5-0) Loss-Cade Lynch(0-1) T-3:24 A-11095
HR LSU - Raph Rhymes (1); Ty Ross (1); Tyler Hanover (1).
Actual Attendance: 7,302
Berry faced 3 batters in the 7th.