The Hogs earned their first series win against LSU since 2008 behind a five-homer performance Thursday and stellar relief pitching May 10.
The No. 4 Hogs blew out the No. 16 Tigers 14-4 behind five home runs and 15 hits. The Hogs scored two runs in the second and third innings, and a grand slam from junior second baseman Jack Kenley in the fourth inning contributed to a six-run frame that extended the Arkansas lead to 12-2.
Along with Kenley, sophomore shortstop Casey Martin, junior outfielder Dominic Fletcher, sophomore catcher Casey Opitz and redshirt senior first baseman Trevor Ezell all hit bombs in Thursday’s victory. It was only the second five-homer game for Arkansas this season, with the other coming against Northwestern State last month.
Martin went 4-for-5 with one RBI and led the team in hits and runs scored. His lone RBI came on a solo blast in his first at-bat, which was his 12th home run of the season. Fletcher went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a two-run homer, his tenth of the season.
Redshirt junior Isaiah Campbell struggled early, giving up a run in each of his first two innings, but settled down afterward. He shut out the Tigers through his last four innings and surrendered just four hits through six innings while striking out four.
The Hogs clinched their historic series win against LSU Friday night with a late-inning offensive barrage and a stellar performance from the bullpen.
Freshman pitcher Patrick Wicklander started the game, but did not find much success as he gave up three runs and five hits over 3 ⅓ innings. Redshirt junior reliever Kevin Kopps entered the game in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and one out. Kopps got LSU’s Saul Garza to ground into a double play, as he escaped the situation unscathed and held the score at 3-1. He threw four shutout innings, tallied four strikeouts and allowed only one hit, earning his fourth win of the season.
Arkansas scored a combined eight runs in its final two frames in the 11-6 victory over LSU. Every Hog in the starting lineup notched at least one hit as the squad totalled 12 overall. Six different Hogs had at least one RBI, and four had multiple RBIs.
After falling behind 3-0 in the first two innings, Arkansas chipped away, scoring one run each in the third, fifth and sixth innings to draw level with the Tigers. The Razorbacks took their first lead of the game on an RBI single from Martin in the seventh. Fletcher drove Martin in shortly after, as the Hogs increased their lead to 5-3. Fletcher came through again for the Hogs in the eighth inning as he scorched a two-run double to right field for his second and third RBI of the game.
Sophomore outfielder Heston Kjerstad went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, one coming on a solo home run to center field in the sixth inning that tied the game at three. It was Kjerstad’s team-leading 14th home run of the season, which tied his total from last year.
The Hogs dropped the series finale Saturday as LSU outfielder Antoine Duplantis’ three-run homer helped the Tigers avoid the sweep.
The Hogs had runners in scoring position but failed to convert throughout the game, but the most notable example was in the sixth inning. Fletcher brought in sophomore utility player Matt Goodheart with an RBI double, his SEC-leading 21st double of the year, which gave the Hogs a 2-0 lead. Arkansas then loaded the bases as Kjerstad walked and Kenley singled.
Freshman third baseman Jacob Nesbit stepped up to the plate with no outs and the bases loaded, and grounded out to the second baseman, who got the force out at home. Then, sophomore Casey Opitz followed Nesbit by hitting into a double play as the Hogs missed a crucial opportunity.
Freshman pitcher Connor Noland started for the Hogs, throwing 5 ⅓ scoreless innings with four hits, no walks and four strikeouts. Noland has thrown five or more innings in three of his last four outings.
Although the Hogs’ offense were not as productive as it had been in the first two games of the series, the Hogs tallied eight hits nonetheless. The first six batters for the Hogs all got hits, and Fletcher and Kjerstad had multi-hit games.
The Hogs (39-13, 19-8 SEC) remain atop the SEC Western Division, with a two-game lead over Mississippi State.
Fletcher: 7-12, 7 RBI, HR, 2 2B
Martin: 6-13, 3 RBI, HR, SB
Kopps: 4 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K