LSU tops Arkansas for 12th SEC Tournament championship

Taylor Byrd
May 31, 2017

LSU utilized four pitchers en route to the win on Sunday. Bush was relieved by Zack Hess, who struck out Carson Shaddy to end the eighth.Newman walked one and hit one before allowing Cole's two-out RBI single in the ninth.The SEC tournament championship is No. 12 for LSU - six with Skip Bertman as coach and six with Mainieri as coach. With two on and two out, the devil of the Razorback lineup, the big boppin Chad Spanberger came up to the plate.

For the third-straight tournament game, Arkansas lit up the scoreboard in the first inning as Luke Bonfield singled home Spanberger to give Arkansas a 1-0 lead.

No. 2 seed LSU faces No. 4 seed Arkansas. "I did something there (walking Spanberger) that I hadn't done in 35 years of coaching". However, the Tigers were able to escape with minimal damage, ending the game on a fielder's choice to third base that spearheaded their celebration. It will be the fourth tournament championship appearance in program history (1998, 1999, 2007) and the Hogs will be looking for its first victory in the final game.

A pair of homers gave LSU a 3-0 lead in the first as Kramer Robertson led off the game with a solo homer and Greg Deichmann added a two-run shot that was just out of the grasp of TJ Hopkins at the wall in right-centerfield. LSU center fielder Zach Watson, just a freshman, has been an impact player at the plate and in the field this tournament. The last time the two celebrated was when Earnhardt won at Talladega on October 15th, 2000, four months before The Intimidator's death in a horrific crash at Daytona.

Spanberger would go deep again in the 3rd, this time with a man on. Three of the Razorbacks' hits went for extra bases.The Hogs stranded ten runners - six in scoring position.

"We have to credit Arkansas, they can swing the bats really well", UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said.

When the Tigers pitched to him, Spanberger grounded to third, struck out and flied to left. Jared Poche' (10-3) allowed only two hits in six innings for LSU. Row was South Carolina's top hitter at the SEC Tournament batting.368 (7-for-19) with five runs scored, a double, a homer and a pair of RBI. He walked with the bases loaded in the 4th inning and drove home Duplantis with a sacrifice fly in the 6th inning. He also dropped a line drive for an error in rightfield.Papierski and Watson were the only starters who did not reach base.Dominic Taccolini, the fifth Arkansas pitcher, retired all nine batters he faced over the last three innings.Nick Bush replaced Walker and allowed a double by Fletcher.

LSU will likely start freshman RHP Eric Walker (6-1, 4.04 ERA), the Tigers' normal Sunday starter.

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