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Top-ranked LSU beats Arkansas in extra innings

Last Modified: Sunday, April 14, 2013 11:24 PM

Special to the American Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Rightfielder Sean McMullen delivered a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning for the go-ahead run as top-ranked LSU beat Arkansas 5-3 to clinch its fifth SEC series win in as many weekends.

Catcher Ty Ross was lifted for pinch runner Jared Foster after leading off the 10th with a double and, after a two-strike sacrifice bunt moved Foster to third, he trotted home on McMullen’s fly to deep right center.

The Tigers got a controversial insurance run, keyed when Mark Laird reached on a infield single in which he appeared to run out of the first base line. Alex Bregman’s and Raph Rhymes followed with back to back singles, the latter scoring Laird.

Reliever Chris Cotton (2-0) earned the win for LSU, as he worked two scoreless innings, including the bottom of the 10th.

“This victory demonstrates the tremendous resiliency of our players,” said LSU coach Paul Maineri, whose team had its 15-game winning streak broken the previous night. “We had a tough game yesterday, but our guys came back to the ball park today ready to play. Arkansas has an excellent team and one of the most impressive pitching staffs I’ve seen in all of my years in coaching. We faced a tremendous challenge against a Top 10 team in a very intense environment, but our players remained composed and won a great ball game.”.

LSU (34-3, 13-2 SEC) beat the Razorbacks (25-12, 9-6) in a series for the eighth time in the last nine seasons.

LSU is one game behind Vanderbilt (14-1) in the overall SEC race, and the Tigers  hold a four-game lead over Arkansas in the Western Division standings.

Cotton (2-0) gave up a one-out bunt single in the ninth, but struck out pinch hitter Issac Hellbusch snf ended the game when pinch hitter Jean Ramirez popped out to second base.

Arkansas grabbed an 1-0 in the first inning on an RBI single by rightfielder Tyler Spoon.

LSU struck for three runs in the third as centerfielder Mark Laird provided an fielder’s choice grounder for an RBI and shortstop Alex Bregman launched a two-run homer, his fourth dinger of the season. Bregman went 3-for-4 in teh game.

Arkansas narrowed the deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the third when second baseman Jordan Farris belted a solo homer, his second of the season.

The Razorbacks tied the game in the fourth on Farris’ RBI single against LSU reliever Nick Rumbelow. The run was charged to starter Cody Glenn, who worked the first 3 1/3 innings of the contest.

LSU’s relief corps of Cotton, Rumbelow, Brent Bonvillain and Joey Bourgeois combined to blank Arkansas over the final 623 innings of the game, allowing just two hits in that span.

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