Friday night’s series opener against Arkansas was the first LSU sporting event to allow 100% capacity going back to last March. While the fans showed up, the Tiger offense did not.
LSU was shutout 7-0, wasting a golden start from Landon Marceaux in the process. The Tiger hitters couldn’t figure out Arkansas starter Patrick Wicklander and reliever Kevin Kopps, being shutout by the duo and only picking up three hits in the game. LSU only had a runner in scoring position once in the game.
Marceaux was phenomenal for most of the game, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Unfortunately it was in the seventh that Marceaux ran out of gas and not only lost the no-hitter but surrendered the lead when he gave up two runs off four hits in the inning.
“You couldn’t ask for any more out of a starting pitcher,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “He was tremendous. He was fantastic. It was a true pitcher’s duel in every sense of the word...he was amazing. He helped himself with a couple of nice plays, and we made a couple of nice plays or two behind him as well. We just couldn’t solve Wicklander.”
The trouble began with a leadoff single from Matt Goodheart and was followed by a one-out single from Brady Stevens. The pair came around to score on a single from Christian Franklin, breaking the deadlock and putting LSU in a monumental 2-0 hole.
“I started getting behind in counts,” Marceaux said. “That’s something I didn’t do in the first six innings. Though the fist six it was 0-1, 0-2 and that was is. I was very competitive through the first six. But in the seventh I missed a spot here, I missed a spot there.”
“That’s part of the game. Credit to them.”
Marceaux would finish with seven innings pitched where he didn’t walk any batters and struck out eight, but while the hits and runs he allowed in the seventh weren’t much in the grand scheme of things, it was enough to sink the Tigers with the offensive effort drying up.
And then in eighth, things really went south for the Tigers. LSU gave up five runs on two walks and three hits, one of them a three-run home run from Franklin.
“Things got out of hand there in the eighth inning,” Mainieri said. “I don’t think the score was in any way indicative of the kind of game it was. It was a great ballgame, we were just on the short end of it.”
Due to the threat of inclement weather Sunday, the Tigers and Razorbacks will play a traditional doubleheader Saturday starting at 2:00, with game two scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Both games will be nine innings and streamed online on the SECN+.