BATON ROUGE, La.— Sophomore right fielder Mark Laird hit a walk-off single to score pinch runner Jake Fraley in eighth-ranked LSU’s 5-4 series clincher over No. 24 Arkansas Saturday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
With two outs and runners on first and second, Laird hit the game winning RBI off of pitcher Michael Gunn to score Fraley.
LSU, which won its seventh straight game, is 27-8-1 overall and 8-5-1 in the SEC. Arkansas is 21-15 and 6-8.
Game 3 between the Tigers and Razorbacks begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The game will be televised by Cox Sports Television and can be heard on the LSU Sports Radio Network (98.1 in Baton Rouge). Members of the Geaux Zone can access live video and audio at LSUSports.net/live.
“It wasn’t our most crisply played game, but the resiliency of our players is the most important factor,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We all had the utmost confidence in Mark Laird in the ninth inning. He sticks his nose in there and competes, and that liner into left field was a thing of beauty.”
LSU took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning. Third baseman Christian Ibarra hit a solo home run to left field. Catcher Chris Chinea followed with an RBI double to score first baseman Conner Hale, who reached on an error by the third baseman.
LSU added two runs in the fourth inning to make it a 4-0 game. With two outs, freshman second baseman Kramer Robertson hit a two-run double to left-center field to plate centerfielder Andrew Stevenson and Chinea.
Arkansas responded in the fifth inning to cut the LSU lead to 4-2. First baseman Eric Fisher started off the inning with a solo home run to right field against LSU starting pitcher Jared Poche’. With runners on second and third, left fielder Joe Serrano hit a sacrifice fly to score shortstop Michael Bernal.
The Razorbacks added another run in the sixth inning when Fisher hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate pinch hitter Clark Eagan.
With runners on first and second in the seventh inning, Arkansas executed a double steal. Chinea threw the ball over third baseman Christian Ibarra’s head to allow Andrew Benintendi to score and tie the game at 4-4.
LSU’s Joe Broussard (1-0) earned the win after entering the game in the ninth inning. Broussard struck out one of the two batters he faced.
Arkansas reliever Michael Gunn (1-1) was charged the loss after entering the game in the ninth inning. Gunn walked two and gave up the game-winning hit to Laird.
Poche’ pitched 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on six hits with three strikeouts. Arkansas starter Jalen Beeks pitched eight innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. Beeks struck out seven batters with one walk.