Baton Rouge, LA (UofA) – The No. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks nearly made a five-run comeback Sunday afternoon pulling within one after a four-run seventh, but could never get over the hump as LSU bullpen shut down the Hogs to win 7-5 and take the series at Alex Box Stadium.
Arkansas (33-15, 14-10 SEC) never could get a lock on LSU starting pitcher A.J. Labas, scoring just one run off the freshman hurler in six innings, but took advantage of the Tigers’ first man out of the bullpen in Nick Bush in the seventh. Four runs came home on just two hits as two LSU errors also helped the cause to help the Hogs pull within one at 6-5.
Unfortunately, that was the closest the Razorbacks got as the Tigers (28-20, 12-12 SEC) added an insurance run in the bottom half of the seventh on an RBI single by Zach Watson for the final tally.
The Razorbacks drop their fourth series of the conference season, all on the road, but is still alone at the top of the SEC Western Division, one game ahead of Ole Miss and Auburn.
Freshman Heston Kjerstad had a nice bounce-back game after his four strikeouts the night before, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run. He launched his 10th home run of the year in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game at 1-1 and joined Casey Martin and Eric Cole as the only Razorbacks with 10 or more home runs this year.
The 5-6-7 hitters for Arkansas, including redshirt senior Carson Shaddy, who was coming off a hand injury, contributed to six of Arkansas’ seven hits in the game. Along with Kjerstad, Shaddy and junior catcher Grant Koch had two hits each.
Shaddy, who had missed the previous seven games after taking a ball off the hand in the final game of the Mississippi State series, went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the game and one double, his eighth of the year.
On the mound, it was a good start for redshirt sophomore Isaiah Campbell, who matched Labas pitch-for-pitch in the first four innings. Campbell struck out only two, but limited his pitch count and held LSU to just four hits and one run. He ran into trouble at the start of the fifth with four-consecutive one-out hits and had to be relieved with two runs home in the inning and two runners still in scoring position.
Campbell finished with 4.1 innings pitched and five earned runs on eight hits and 74 pitches. He was saddled with the loss to fall to 3-5.
The bullpen behind Campbell gave the Hogs a chance over the second half of the game. Sophomore Evan Lee faced just three batters and got his team out of the big LSU fifth inning, then Cody Scroggins followed with only one run allowed in the fifth, his only inning of work.
Freshman Bryce Bonnin made his first appearance since March 30, but only lasted a third of an inning as LSU hitters were able to get a single and a double, including the insurance run by Watson. Junior Barrett Loseke was the final pitcher for the Hogs and threw 1.2 scoreless innings in his second appearance of the weekend.
Arkansas returns home for its final regular-season series of the 2018 season at Baum Stadium when it plays host to Texas A&M for a three-game set starting on Friday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.