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Tigers Dig Deep, Win Series in Arkansas

LSU guts out a series win on the road against Arkansas

Crystal Logiudice-US PRESSWIRE

LSU faced their toughest test of the year this weekend, traveling to face 10th ranked Arkansas, a team that sported one of the best pitching staffs in the country. LSU passed the test, earning a series win despite the fact that two of their starting pitchers did not have their best stuff.

Aaron Nola pitched an incredible game on Friday night, throwing a complete game with 10 strikeouts in a 6-2 LSU victory. Sean McMullen hit a three run home run to give LSU the lead and Ty Ross knocked a two out, two-run single to give them some cushion. Nola's awesome performance not only helped win Friday, but it helped win Sunday too. Since Game Three turned into a "all hands on deck" affair with LSU's bullpen, the fact that everyone was fresh was a huge asset. LSU was flashing some serious, serious leather in the last few innings of the game. Rhymes and Stevenson both made great catches in the outfield while Ibarra and Bregam matched them on the infield. It was fun to watch.

On Saturday, Ryan Eades just didn't have his stuff. His control was off, which led to some walks and to too many balls being left out over the plate. A four run inning in the fourth would be all the damage that Arkansas needed, as they cruised from that point forward. On the flip side, LSU faced Hogs' ace Ryan Stanek who was as good as advertised. The Tigers just could not seem to get anything going, and Stanek would squash any potential rally before it got off the ground.

Cody Glenn wasn't real sharp on Sunday. He walked the first batter of the game on four pitches, and that walk came around to score. His outing didn't start well, and he never really found a groove. After getting hit with a line drive in the fourth inning, his day was done. Had that ball not hit his leg, it was likely headed into centerfield for a RBI single in which case he would have likely been pulled anyway. LSU's bullpen was the story on Sunday. They retired 20 of 23 batters faced with the only Hogs to reach base did so with a single, a walk and a bunt single.

At the plate, Sean McMullen and Ty Ross stood out to me. Both guys only had two hits all weekend, but they were all in big spots. McMullen of course had the three run blast to get things started on Friday night. He reached base four times in five plate appearances. But he also had the sac fly in the 10th inning on Sunday to give LSU the lead for good. By the way, that sac fly was absolutely blasted and if the wind wasn't blowing in so strongly, he'd have two home runs on the weekend. McMullen has really come along these last few weeks and has given LSU another excellent bat at the top of the order. Ross had a clutch two out, two RBI single on Friday. His double to lead off the 10th inning on Sunday was one of the biggest hits for LSU this season.

Overall, LSU didn't have a great weekend at the plate but that was to be expected going against one of the top pitching staffs in the country. For the series, LSU batted just .211 with only 22 hits. That's a stark contrast to last weekend. So, it's tough to take too much from some of the weak numbers at the plate. Both Alex Bregman and Mason Katz saw their hitting streak come to an end, and I'm actually just fine with that. Sometimes, those streaks tend to take on a life of their own and become a distraction. Bregman did bounce back with a three hit game on Sunday, including a two run homer.

This weekend was a good one for LSU and not just because they won a series on the road against a quality opponent. The Tigers faced some real adversity, and they showed the ability to battle through it and dig deep. Things were starting to seem a little too easy for this club, and we all know it's not going to be like that in the post-season. Beating a pitcher like Ryan Stanek would be the next logical thing for this team to accomplish. They'll get their chance against Ole Miss's Bobby Wahl and South Carolina's Nolan Belcher.

LSU plays Grambling on Wednesday night before traveling to Alabama next weekend. The Tide were swept at Ole Miss this weekend and have lost five of their last six SEC games. Following that series, LSU plays three of the final four weekend at The Box. At 34-3 overall and 13-2 in the conference, LSU is in excellent shape to close strong and earn a national Top-8 seed.

SEC Standings

Team SEC Pct. Overall Pct. Home Away Neutral Streak
Vanderbilt 14 - 1 .933 33 - 4 .892 24-2 9-2 0-0 W14
Florida 8 - 7 .533 19 - 18 .514 14-13 5-4 0-1 W5
South Carolina 8 - 7 .533 27 - 10 .730 19-5 8-3 0-2 L3
Kentucky 7 - 8 .467 24 - 11 .686 16-6 5-4 3-1 L2
Tennessee 5 - 10 .333 16 - 18 .471 10-7 5-9 1-2 W2
Missouri 4 - 11 .267 12 - 20 .375 8-7 4-12 0-1 L3
Georgia 3 - 12 .200 13 - 24 .351 8-14 5-10 0-0 W1
LSU 13 - 2 .867 34 - 3 .919 24-1 9-2 1-0 W1
Arkansas 9 - 6 .600 25 - 12 .676 19-7 5-1 0-4 L1
Mississippi St. 8 - 7 .533 30 - 9 .769 22-5 6-4 2-0 W4
Alabama 8 - 7 .533 22 - 16 .579 14-6 8-8 0-2 L1
Ole Miss 7 - 8 .467 26 - 10 .722 18-6 8-3 0-1 W3
Texas A&M 6 - 9 .400 21 - 16 .568 16-8 3-6 1-2 L3
Auburn 5 - 10 .333 22 - 14 .611 17-9 3-5 2-0 L1

Game 1 Highlights

Game 2 Highlights

Game 3 Highlights