Chad Crunk, Athletic Media Relations
FAYETTEVILLE – For the second straight game, Arkansas won in walk-off fashion as Kyle Robinson drove in Bo Bigham on a sacrifice fly to center field to lift the Razorbacks to a 5-4 win over No. 17 LSU and complete a three-game sweep of the Tigers on Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas is now 23-8 overall and moves back to .500 in Southeastern Conference play, improving to 6-6. LSU drops to 21-11 and 3-9 in conference play. The Razorbacks swept the Tigers for the third time since entering the Southeastern Conference in 1992 and the first time since the 2004 season when Arkansas won all three games in Baton Rouge.
The victory also moves Arkansas into second place in the SEC West, just a game behind division leader, Alabama.
“We made up a lot of ground (this weekend),” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We knew we needed to win the series at a minimum and we did that last night. The guys said they were ready to come out and play today and they weren’t satisfied and they proved it.”
Another large crowd saw the series finale as 7,842 fans watched the Razorbacks sweep LSU. For the three-game series, 28,657 fans passed through the Baum Stadium gates, the largest three-game series attendance of the 2011 season.
With the game tied at four, Arkansas rallied in the last half inning for the second straight day, plating the game-winning run. Bigham started the rally, hitting the first pitch of the inning down the left-field line for a double. Matt Reynolds then laid down a sacrifice bunt to the mound, but LSU pitcher Matty Ott bobbled the ball, allowing Reynolds to reach first safely and moving Bigham to third. An intentional walk to Sam Bates loaded the bases with nobody out. Robinson then hit the 2-2 pitch of his at bat into shallow center field. Mikie Mahtook made the catch and tried to throw Bigham, who was tagging from third, out at the plate. However, the junior second baseman was able to slide in just ahead of the throw to give Arkansas a 5-4 win and complete the three-game sweep.
With his double in the bottom of the ninth inning, Bigham extended his hitting streak to 11 games, a new career long. Tim Carver also added a big hit in the win, a two-run home run, his first of the season, in the bottom of the fourth. Carver finished the game with three RBI. Dominic Ficociello had a hit and a RBI, while Robinson had the game-winning RBI. James McCann, Jarrod McKinney and Matt Vinson also had one hit each.
Austin Nola drove in four runs, all coming on a sixth-inning grand slam, to lead LSU at the plate. Mahtook added two hits in the loss.
Cade Lynch (3-1) earned the win in relief, pitching 1.1 shutout innings with three strikeouts. Ott (0-2) took the loss, allowing a run on a hit with three strikeouts over 2.2 innings.
Both starting pitchers picked up a no decision. Randall Fant started for Arkansas and allowed three runs on four hits with four punch outs in 5.1 innings. LSU starter Ben Alsup gave up three runs on four hits in four innings.
The Razorbacks struck first, scoring a run in the bottom of the third. With one out, Bates worked Alsup for an eight-pitch walk and then moved to second on a stolen base. After Robinson flied out, Ficociello singled past the Nola and into left-center field, scoring Bates.
Arkansas added two more runs in the home half of the fourth to stretch the lead to 3-0. McKinney hit a one-out triple to the right-center field wall. After missing a safety squeeze bunt attempt on the first pitch of his at bat, Carver launched the next offering he saw down the left field line and over the fence for his first homer of the year to put the Razorbacks in front by three.
The lead was short lived as LSU put together a four-run rally in the top of the sixth. Ty Ross and Raph Rhymes started the uprising with back-to-back singles. Tyler Hanover grounded out to Fant for the first out of the inning. Mahtook was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Arkansas then brought in freshman reliever Barrett Astin and the first batter he faced, Nola, deposited a grand slam into the Razorback bullpen to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead.
Arkansas was able to answer in the bottom half of the inning, tying the game at four. McCann led off the inning with a single into left field and then moved to second after a walk to Vinson. McKinney laid down a sacrifice bunt to move each runner up a base. Carver drove in his third run of the day on a groundout to second, scoring McCann.
Arkansas is back in action on Tuesday, traveling to Springfield, Mo., for a non-conference game against Missouri State. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.
For more information on Razorback Baseball, visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.