Poche' struggles, bats quiet, #1 LSU loses to Arkansas 5-1
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - Arkansas pitchers Dominic Taccolini and Zach Jackson combined to limit top-ranked LSU to one run on seven hits Thursday night as the Razorbacks posted a 5-1 win over the Tigers in Game 1 of an SEC series at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas improved to 11-9 overall and 1-3 in the SEC, while LSU dropped to 19-3 overall and 2-2 in league play.
The teams will play Game 2 of the series at 8 p.m. CT Friday. The game will be televised on the SEC Network, and it can be heard on affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge). Live audio and stats may be accessed in the Geaux Zone at www.LSUsports.net.
Freshman right-hander Alex Lange will start on the mound Saturday for LSU, while Arkansas will counter with sophomore right-hander James Teague.
Taccolini (4-2) limited the Tigers to one run on six hits through six innings with one walk and two strikeouts. Jackson earned his first save of the season, blanking LSU over the final three innings and allowing just one hit with four strikeouts.
LSU starter Jared Poche' (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season, as he surrendered five runs on 10 hits in 3.2 innings with two walks and one strikeout.
"Jared is such a gamer and a competitor, but he just didn't have his stuff tonight," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Arkansas was on him and they swung the bats well, and they ended up getting to him. Jared will be better next week, no doubt."
LSU freshman reliever Austin Bain entered the game in the fourth inning and turned in a superb effort, shutting out Arkansas through 3.1 innings with four strikeouts.
"Bain came in and did a tremendous job and saved our bullpen for the rest of the series," Mainieri said.
LSU scored its only run in sixth when shortstop Alex Bregman launched his sixth homer of the season and his fourth in the Tigers' last six games.
"We weren't great offensively, but we did hit a lot of balls hard that carried into the outfield," Mainieri said. "Arkansas made some tremendous defensive plays, and that happens sometimes in this sport."
Arkansas grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when designated hitter Luke Bonfield's groundout scored first baseman Clark Eagan from third base.
The Razorbacks extended the lead to 2-0 in the second on an RBI single by shortstop Michael Bernal.
Arkansas added three runs in the fourth against Poche' on four hits, including RBI singles by second baseman Rick Nomura and by centerfielder Andrew Benintendi.
Eagan finished 3-for-5 on the night for the Razorbacks, scoring two runs.