LSU baseball falls to Arkansas in SEC Tournament after costly interference call

HOOVER Ala. – Sometimes one mistake can change a game.

For LSU baseball, that one mistake on Thursday against No. 2 seed Arkansas in the third round of the SEC Tournament did exactly that.

In the fourth inning, Alex Milazzo was called for catcher’s interference with the bases loaded, allowing a run to score and the inning to continue. Despite reliever Riley Cooper forcing a flyout to shallow center field that appeared to end it, the inning continued as Cooper surrendered a single that allowed two more runs to score and give Arkansas a three-run lead.

The No. 3 seed Tigers scored a run in the eighth and ninth innings to cut the deficit to one, but it wasn’t enough. The Razorbacks won 5-4, advancing them to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.

LSU will go to the losers bracket and face Texas A&M on Friday (3 p.m., SEC Network).

The interference call heard ’round the world

With a 2-0 lead entering the bottom of the fourth and Paul Skenes on the mound, LSU was in a good spot.

But one hit-by-pitch and three singles later, Arkansas had tied the game before recording an out. Skenes retired two of the next three batters but couldn’t escape the inning, as he was replaced by Riley Cooper.

That’s when the interference call happened and the two-RBI single that followed.

SEC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE: Here’s the 2023 SEC Baseball Tournament schedule for Hoover

HURD WEARS SKENES’ GLOVE: Why LSU baseball’s Thatcher Hurd wore Paul Skenes’ glove at SEC Tournament

LSU TAKES DOWN SOUTH CAROLINA: LSU baseball easily dispatches South Carolina to advance at SEC Tournament

Hagen Smith and Hunter Hollan step up

Few pitching combinations have slowed down LSU’s vaunted lineup this season.

But Hunter Hollan and Hagen Smith are among that small contingent. The left-handed duo for Arkansas combined to allow just four earned runs in nine innings pitched against LSU, consistently fooling the Tigers with 17 combined strikeouts.

With the best pitcher in college baseball on the mound for LSU, the Razorbacks had to have Smith and Hollan’s best and they got it.

Riley Cooper keeps LSU in the game

After he surrendered the single that extended Arkansas’ lead in the fourth inning, Riley Cooper could have let the floodgates open, but he didn’t.

Instead, the left-handed reliever recorded the final out of the fourth and retired the next 12 of the next 13 batters to maintain LSU’s narrow deficit.

Cooper entered Thursday’s contest with a 5.70 ERA against SEC competition. To say that his performance against Arkansas was promising would be an understatement.

Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser. Email him at k[email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: LSU baseball: Tigers lose to Arkansas in SEC Tournament

Advertisement