BATON ROUGE, La. – In his first career collegiate start, freshman right-hander Caleb Gilbert tossed five scoreless innings to lead 13th-ranked LSU to a 7-1 victory and an SEC series sweep over Arkansas Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
LSU improved to 31-16 overall and 14-10 in the SEC, while Arkansas dropped to 26-22 overall and 7-17 in conference play.
LSU returns to the road for a five-game road trip against Notre Dame and Tennessee. The Tigers will compete against the Fighting Irish on Tuesday and Wednesday in South Bend, Ind. LSU then takes on the Volunteers in a three-game Southeastern Conference series beginning Friday.
Both games against Notre Dame will start at 5 p.m. CT, and they will be available online only through ESPN3, which is accessible through Watch ESPN and the WatchESPN app.
The games can also be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Fans can go to LSUsports.net for live stats and audio through the GeauxZone.
Gilbert improved to 4-2 on the season after not allowing a run in five innings of work on Sunday. The Hoover, Ala., native limited the Razorbacks to five hits and struck out a pair of batters while walking just one.
“Caleb did exactly what he needed to do for us to win today,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We thought he would have a chance to succeed in going through a starter’s routine during the week, and he responded very well to this opportunity. He’s a young man with a lot of talent and great stuff, and I’m very proud of the outing he gave his team today.”
Reliever Parker Bugg entered the game in the sixth and only allowed one base runner in three innings.
Arkansas’s Keaton McKinney (1-4) was charged with the loss after allowing four runs in 4.1 innings of work.
LSU took a 2-0 lead in the second off the bat of leftfielder Brennan Breaux, who ripped a two-out single up the middle to plate two runs. Breaux, who was 3-for-3 after coming off the bench in Saturday’s win over Arkansas, made his second career SEC start on Sunday.
“Brennan came up with a huge, two-out hit for us today, and he was a real spark for us over the past two days,” Mainieri said. “His play is a testament to continuing to work hard in a reserve role and being ready to contribute in a significant way when give the opportunity.”
The Tigers added four more runs in the fifth inning to take a 6-0 lead. Second baseman Cole Freeman scored from third on a wild pitch by McKinney. With two on, catcher Jordan Romero launched a three-run home run 383 feet into the left field bleachers.
“I gave Jordan a very emphatic ‘green light’ on a 3-0 pitch,” Mainieri said, “and fortunately he put a good swing on it.”
Arkansas scored a run in the top of the ninth inning. With runners on first and second, first baseman Cullen Gassaway singled up the middle to account for the final margin.