No. 14 LSU topples No. 3 Arkansas
Foster's 11th-inning hit powers Tigers to another walk-off victory
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Jared Foster's 11th-inning infield hit Sunday provided No. 14 LSU with its second consecutive walk-off RBI single and lifted the Tigers to a 3-2 against No. 3 Arkansas in Alex Box Stadium.
LSU extended its win streak to four games and improved to 22-6 overall, 6-3 in the SEC. The Tigers are in a first-place tie in the SEC Western Division with Auburn. Arkansas dropped to 22-6 and 5-4 in the conference with Sunday's loss.
The three-game sweep of Arkansas was LSU's first against a ranked team since May 3-4, 2008 when the Tigers swept three games at Kentucky. The Tigers posted a 10-6 win against the Razorbacks on Friday night, and catcher Ty Ross' RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday night gave LSU a 2-1 victory.
LSU is now 5-2 this season in SEC games decided by one run.
"It was just another great ball game and a huge win for our team," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "We felt very confident going into this series and that carried on throughout the weekend. We got tremendous pitching both from our starters and our bullpen, and we made the plays we needed to make to win games."
LSU's Raph Rhymes led off the 11th inning with a single against Arkansas closer Barrett Astin. Austin Nola popped out and Rhymes was caught stealing. However, Ross reached first on an infield single and moved to third on third baseman Tyler Hanover's bloop single behind first base.
Designated hitter Tyler Moore was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs for Foster. The former LSU walk-on quarterback chopped a bouncing ball to the left side of the infield, where Arkansas third baseman Matt Reynolds couldn't make the play and Ross raced home with the winning run.
Astin (2-2) was charged with the loss as he gave up one run on six hits in three innings with no walks and two strikeouts. LSU's Joey Bourgeois (1-1) earned the win after he pitched two scoreless relief innings, allowing no hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
LSU starter Aaron Nola (3-1) notched a career high nine strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work. Arkansas starter Nolan Sanburn (2-1) worked three innings, allowing four hits, two runs and three walks.
The Tigers' bullpen was exceptional in the victory. Nick Goody finished the seventh inning and recorded four strikeouts in 2.1 innings of work. Chris Cotton forced Arkansas to strand runners on the corners in the ninth.
LSU struck first in the top of the opening frame. Mason Katz ripped a two-out single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch. Rhymes smacked a grounder up the middle to score Katz from second.
Arkansas responded in the top of the second. Derrick Bleeker hit a solo shot over the left-field bleachers, his third dinger of the season.
LSU recaptured the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Katz reached safely on an infield single and moved to third on a failed pickoff attempt by Sanburn. Austin Nola cracked an RBI double just inside the left-field line to plate Katz.
Arkansas tied the game in the top of the seventh inning. Dominic Ficociello led off the inning with a deep blast into the right-field seats. After Aaron Nola issued a one-out walk to Bleeker, Nick Goody entered the game for LSU and struck out Sam Bates and Bo Bigham.
In the eighth inning, Goody fanned Jake Wise and Jacob Morris before his run of four consecutive strikeouts ended on a fly out by Carver.
Jacob Mahan led off the Arkansas ninth with a single and was replaced by pinch-runner Matt Vinson. After a pop out, Reynolds singled to left. After Bleeker's pop out to center, Vinson reached third. Cotton entered the game for LSU and forced Sam Bates to ground out to first base to end the threat.