Losing a baseball series is never a good feeling, especially not one as close as the one the Razorbacks just played against the LSU Tigers.
The Tigers are now 34-3. LSU is one of the best teams in the country and has a very good chance to celebrate in Omaha.
Before the series against Arkansas, LSU had a team batting average of .322, which was the best in the Southeastern Conference and seventh best in the country.
The Tigers lead the conference in almost every offensive statistical category, including slugging percentage, on-base percentage, hits, runs scored and runs batted in.
LSU is led by senior Mason Katz, who is hitting .438 with 13 home runs. He is followed closely by freshman Alex Bregman, who has a batting average of .424.
Of the players that have been in the lineup for the bulk of the season, LSU has three other players with batting averages over .300, including Raph Rhymes, who is hitting .341.
For comparison, Arkansas’ best batting average belongs to Tyler Spoon, who is hitting .336.
Leading into the series against the Razorbacks, the Tigers were beating their opponents by almost six runs per game on average.
So the Tigers can hit. They can hit really, really well, but that’s only half the game. Unfortunately, they can pitch pretty well too.
They don’t pitch quite as well as Arkansas, but the Hogs are the only team in the conference that the Tigers aren’t better than.
Before the weekend series, LSU had a team ERA of 2.39. They rank fourth in opponent batting average, holding foes to a .216 average.
The Tigers also led the conference with a fielding percentage of .983, before the series against Arkansas. LSU had allowed 90 runs, but only 82 of them were earned, meaning only eight runs scored against the Tigers that could have been avoided with better fielding.
Arkansas, for comparison, had allowed 83 runs, but only 53 of them were earned. That means an astounding 30 opponent runs could have been avoided.
So, the Hogs dropped the series to the Tigers and they will probably drop in the rankings. As little fun as it is to see your team drop in the rankings, Razorback fans could find some encouraging points in this series.
Most fans knew the Razorback pitching staff was elite, but the Hogs had not yet faced an offense as good as that of LSU.
The Tigers scored 31 runs in three games against a then-No. 7 Kentucky team. The Hogs held them to 14 runs over the course of the series.
The defensive lineup for the Razorbacks was also improved in the final two games of the series, with only one error in each of those two games.
Before this weekend, the Hogs had only played three conference games in which they only committed one error. They haven’t played any SEC games with no errors.
If the fielding and hitting can improve throughout the rest of the season, the Razorbacks could be a better team than some fans think at the end of the season.
Haley Markle is the assistant sports editor for the Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears every Monday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.