Walkoff winner: Run in 10th gives Hogs 16 in a row at home

Arkansas left fielder Will Edmunson (19) celebrates with teammate Nolan Souza after scoring the winning run in the 10th inning Friday, giving the top-ranked Razorbacks a 4-3 victory over the No. 7 LSU Tigers at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. More photos available at nwaonline.com/photo.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)
Arkansas left fielder Will Edmunson (19) celebrates with teammate Nolan Souza after scoring the winning run in the 10th inning Friday, giving the top-ranked Razorbacks a 4-3 victory over the No. 7 LSU Tigers at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. More photos available at nwaonline.com/photo. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)


FAYETTEVILLE -- It was a Sweet 16 Friday night for the University of Arkansas baseball team.

The No. 1-ranked Razorbacks beat LSU 4-3 in 10 innings at Baum-Walker Stadium before an announced season-high crowd of 11,156 to extend their home winning streak to 16 games and clinch the series against the defending national champion Tigers.

Will Edmunson reached first base with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning on a fielding error by LSU shortstop Michael Braswell, then scored the winning run when he slide into home plate headfirst after a double down the left-field line by Hudson White on a 1-0 fastball from Thatcher Hurd.

"When I stepped up to the plate, I was just looking for something up and over the plate, and that's what I got," said White, a junior catcher. "I was able to put a swing on it. "

White said he believed Edmunson would be able to go from first to third, but not get all the way home.

"I might have to owe him dinner for scoring on that," White said.

After getting the game-winning hit, White lost his jersey as he teammates mobbed him on the field and tore it off.

"As a coach, you sit in the dugout and you try to figure out, 'How are we going to score a run?' " Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. "And you almost think it's going to be a mistake, it's going to be an error.

"We felt really fortunate that we had a runner on first with one out and some guys that were confident coming to the plate."

Van Horn said White has been swinging the bat well.

"I felt good about him getting a hit," Van Horn said. "I didn't know he was going to hit a double. But I liked the matchup there.

"He was really aggressive, he was looking for a pitch and he got it. It was a fastball in and he turned on it."

White's double was hit sharply past LSU third baseman Tommy White.

"White was playing on the line, but it was hit so hard, and it was right down the line," Van Horn said. "He'd had to have been standing on the bag almost to make that play."

Third base coach Nate Thompson didn't hesitate in sending Edmunson home.

"You've got to take a shot," Van Horn said.

Van Horn said Edmunson's base-running shouldn't be overlooked.

"I mean, he hit [third] base and he didn't get wide at all," Van Horn said. "We've been talking about that and working on that.

"[Edmunson] came around third hard, hit the inside of the bag, pushed off and turned it up. Probably saved him a step or two, and he made it easy."

Arkansas (22-3, 7-1 SEC), which opened the series with a 7-4 victory Thursday night, matched the longest home winning streak in the 29 seasons the Razorbacks have played at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The Razorbacks also won 16 consecutive home games in 1997 under then-coach Norm DeBriyn.

Arkansas is 17-1 at home this season with its only loss on Feb. 18, when James Madison beat the Razorbacks 7-3 in the third game of the season.

"I thought the crowd was amazing, the environment was amazing," Van Horn said. "We played clean baseball again. We really didn't kick it around. We didn't give them anything. A good win for our team."

The Razorbacks have won four of their past five series against the No. 7 Tigers (20-8, 2-6).

Before that recent success for the Razorbacks, they had won four of the previous 27 series against the Tigers.

Arkansas relievers Christian Foutch, Gabe Gaeckle and Stone Hewlett combined to throw five scoreless innings in support of starter Mason Molina.

"Unbelievable, man," White said of the pitching staff. "It's the same thing every game when they go out there. They fill up the zone. They've got great stuff."

LSU tied the game 3-3 in the sixth inning, but Foutch minimized the damage after the Tigers loaded with bases with no outs against Molina on a hit batter, a walk and an infield single.

Ashton Larson lined out to right field to score Pearson from third base, but Foutch then got Steven Milam to ground into a double play.

"Shoutout Christian Foutch," Molina said. "Thank you very much."

Molina went 5 innings and allowed 3 runs, 7 hits and 3 walks with 7 strikeouts. He threw 96 pitches with 59 strikes.

Foutch pitched two scoreless innings before Gaeckle came in and went 2 2/3.

After Arkansas left five runners on base the first three innings, the Razorbacks struck for three runs against LSU starter Luke Holman in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.

The three earned runs in the fourth inning matched the total Holman had allowed in his first six starts of the season. He came into the game with a 0.78 ERA.

Holman went 4 1/3 innings for his shortest start of the season, but he threw a season-high 106 pitches with 57 strikes. He allowed 5 hits and a season-high 5 walks with 3 strikeouts. Before Friday night's game, Holman had issued eight walks in 34 2/3 innings.

"He was a little more wild than he's been," Van Horn said. "He controls the game, manages the game. He's going to pitch for a long time, but we had some success tonight because we fouled off a lot of pitches.

"We took our walks and got his pitch count up, but you could see why he's probably their No. 1 pitcher."

Arkansas' three-run rally in the fourth inning started when Ross Lovich and Nolan Souza each walked.

Ty Wilmsmeyer doubled to score Lovich and advance Souza to third base. Souza scored on a groundout by Stovall to make it 2-2 and McLaughlin doubled in Wilmsmeyer to give Arkansas the lead.

Molina was one strike away from getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning when Pearson lined a two-out, 1-2 pitch to left field for a two-run single to give LSU a 2-0 lead.

Steve Milam hit a leadoff single, then with one out Tommy White singled and Jones walked to load the bases.

Molina struck out Travinski swinging, but couldn't get a third strike on Pearson. He kept LSU from adding to its lead by striking out Ethan Frey.

The Razorbacks will go for a series sweep when they play the Tigers at 2 p.m. today.

"It was just sweet winning the game, winning the series," Van Horn said. "Now we have a chance to sweep somebody that's really good.

"It's like I told the players, it's rare when you get a chance to sweep anybody in this league and if you get a chance, don't get happy. Show up and play hard.

"If you get beat, you get beat, but at least you know you gave it everything you got and don't change the way you think. Don't be satisfied."


  photo  Arkansas catcher Hudson White (shirtless) celebrates with teammates after getting the game-winning hit Friday night as the top-ranked Razorbacks defeated LSU. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)
 
 


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