Sweet sweep: Razorbacks rally again, knock off Tigers

Arkansas infielder Peyton Stovall (10) reacts after forcing out LSU infielder Michael Braswell III (10), Saturday, March 30, 2024 during the ninth inning of a baseball game at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for today's photo gallery...(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
Arkansas infielder Peyton Stovall (10) reacts after forcing out LSU infielder Michael Braswell III (10), Saturday, March 30, 2024 during the ninth inning of a baseball game at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for today's photo gallery...(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The No. 1-ranked University of Arkansas baseball team fell behind in all three games against No. 7 LSU this weekend.

But the Razorbacks put together three comeback victories and capped a series sweep by beating the defending national champion Tigers 7-5 on Saturday at Baum-Walker Stadium before an announced crowd of 10,924.

"It just says they respond," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. "When you come back like that, it's the sign of a good team. You don't roll over."

The Razorbacks (23-3, 8-1 SEC) won their 17th consecutive home game -- the longest streak in Baum-Walker Stadium's 29-year history -- by rallying from a 4-1 deficit.

"We're down 4-1, that lefty's cruising a little bit out there," Van Horn said of LSU starting pitcher Gage Jump. "You already won the first two games, but we just kept fighting. We wanted to win the game.

"I was really proud of them, the way we got down three runs and just came in and took care of business."

Arkansas took a 7-4 lead in the sixth inning with three runs against reliever Nate Ackenhausen.

Will Edmunson hit a leadoff double, went to third on a flyout by Ryder Helfrick and scored on headfirst slide home to beat a throw by Ackenhausen on a grounder by Ty Wilmsmeyer.

Peyton Stovall followed with a two-run home run over the right-field fence.

"We feel like our pitching staff, they're incredible," said Stovall, a junior second baseman who went 2 for 4 on Saturday with 3 runs batted in. "They do a phenomenal job. Sometimes stuff doesn't go our way, guys will score some runs against us.

"We feel like we need to pick them up every now and then, and I think we've done a good job of that. I don't feel like this team gets rattled when we're down.

"We just stay relaxed, stay loose and have quality at-bats and stack 'em."

LSU (20-9, 2-7) got the potential go-ahead runs on base in the eighth inning and tying runs on in the ninth, but Arkansas senior reliever Will McEntire escaped both jams.

McEntire came in with the bases loaded and two outs for freshman Hunter Dietz -- who made his Arkansas debut after recovering from elbow surgery -- in the eighth inning with Mac Bingham coming up to bat after hitting two runs earlier in the game.

Bingham fell behind 1-2 in the count, then struck out swinging.

"That's one reason we put Will in there, because he's older, he's been there, and he really doesn't get rattled," Van Horn said. "He just came in there and did what he does."

LSU put runners on first and second base in the ninth inning with one out when Michael Braswell walked and Brady Neal singled with Tommy White coming up.

White, who hit his ninth home run of the season leading off the game against Brady Tygart, made a bid for a three-run home on a 1-1 pitch from McEntire.

The ball had plenty of distance going over the left field fence, but was called foul by third base umpire Javerro January.

After a video review, the foul call on the high drive was upheld.

"White hit it high, and the wind got ahold of it and just kept pushing it left," Van Horn said. "The umpire, he had the best view, and he called it foul.

"Maybe it was a break for us, but probably foul."

LSU Coach Jay Johnson naturally had a different viewpoint.

"I just kept watching [the ball] and I think it went out before it hooked around the [foul] pole," Johnson said. "I thought it crossed the line in fair territory, but it doesn't matter now."

White then lined into a double play to end the game. Third baseman Jared Sprague-Lott caught the hard shot from White and threw to Stovall at second base to double off Braswell and set off a celebration by the Razorbacks on the field and with fans in the stands.

"[White] is one of the best hitters in the country, if not the best one," Stovall said. "When he hit it, I just broke to the bag.

"When I got to the bag, I was like, 'Just don't miss this. Please catch it.' It was kind of hard to see with the fans [in the background].

"But it was pretty cool. It was awesome to go out there and close the game like that.

"Credit to our team and I'm super proud of our guys."

Senior Koty Frank came in to pitch for Arkansas with the game tied 4-4 and no outs in the fifth inning after Braswell hit a leadoff single.

Frank struck out Neal, then got White to hit into a double play, recording three outs on four pitches. He threw three innings.

"Koty Frank came in and did an amazing job, and got us out that fifth inning," Van Horn said. "He got us through a couple more innings. Just slowed them down a little bit."

Arkansas scored three runs in the fourth inning with a two-out rally against Jump to tie it 4-4.

Sprague-Lott walked while Edmunson and Helfrich singled to load the bases.

Wilmsmeyer hit a two-run single, then Stovall had an RBI single.

LSU took a 4-1 lead on Jared Jones' home run in the second inning and a two-run home by Ashton Larson in the fourth inning.

After White led off the game with a home run put the Tigers ahead 1-0, Arkansas tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the first inning on Wehiwa Aloy's home run.

The Razorbacks won Thursday night's opener 7-4 after trailing 2-1 and won 4-3 in 10 innings on Friday night after the Tigers took a 2-0 lead.

"We're able to respond really quickly," Wilmsmeyer, a senior center fielder and transfer from Missouri, said of Arkansas' ability to come back. "It doesn't matter if we're top of the order, bottom the order. We've got guys that can bang the ball around the yard.

"Just up and down a really strong lineup and anyone can go off at any time."

LSU was swept for the first time since 2022, when Ole Miss took three games from the Tigers.

The Tigers still have a 77-44 series lead against Arkansas, but the Razorbacks are 12-4 against LSU since 2019.

"Sweeping anybody is tough," said Van Horn, who is 30-44 against LSU, including 17-16 at Baum-Walker Stadium. "You beat a team like LSU that's got those big bangers in the middle of the lineup ... I mean, they've got really their top five hitters can hit the ball out at about anytime. I know that they're going to play a lot better. Things will start going their way.

"LSU is a good team. They're going to get their Ws."

But not this weekend at Arkansas.

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