No. 1 Arkansas broke open a close game in the seventh and eight innings and ended up winning going away 7-0 over LSU on Friday night in Baton Rouge.
Arkansas’ Patrick Wicklander and LSU’s Landon Marceaux were outstanding on a classic Friday night in SEC baseball. The two locked in a pitcher’s duel and saw both dominate opposing hitters.
But in the end it was Wicklander who stood the tallest and got the win with help from Kevin Kopps. Wicklander worked 6.2 innings, allowed no runs, three hits, struck out five, faced 22 batters, threw 67 pitches with an amazing 53 strikes. Kopps pitched 2.1 innings, got the sixth save of season. He struck out five, faced seven hitters, threw 29 pitches and 20 were strikes. Wicklander gets the win to move to 3-1 on the season.
The Razorbacks didn’t have a hit through the first six innings, but they broke out in the top of the seventh. Matt Goodheart singled to center field. Following a pop up out, Brady Slavens singled up the middle. Goodheart went to third on the throw and Slavens advanced to second. Then, with one out, Christian Franklin delivered a key single to left center to give the Hogs a 2-0 lead. Robert Moore followed with a single, but then LSU got out of the inning on a double play.
Arkansas broke the game completely open in the the top of the eighth. They added five more runs to the total all with two outs. Jalen Battles singled with one out. Then with two outs LSU intentionally walked Goodheart. Cayden Wallace then walked to load the bases. Slavens singled to right field to plate both Goodheart and Battles. Then Franklin played the part of hero again hitting a three-run home run over the fence in left field. That gave Franklin five RBIs in the game and he also had a nice throw to third in the seventh to gun down an LSU runner.
Marceaux took the loss to fall to 4-4. He worked 7.0 innings, allowed four hits, two runs (both earned), struck out eight, faced 25 hitters, threw 100 pitches with 64 strikes. LSU’s relievers didn’t have the same impact that Kopps did.
Arkansas (33-7, 14-5) and LSU (25-16, 6-13) will play Game 2 of the series Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.