Arkansas beats Mississippi State 9-2 at SEC Tournament

Posted May 31, 2017

Freshman Eric Walker limited the hot-hitting Hogs to one run in 7⅔ innings and No. 6 LSU downed No. 13 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 4-2 in the championship game of the SEC Tournament before a crowd of 13,128 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

Spanberger became the first player in the 40-year history of the tournament to hit three home runs in a game and had a tournament record seven RBIs before his fourth plate appearance.

The Tigers' offense broke the game open in the fourth inning with three hits and a walk, pushing three runs across. In nearly a mirror of his first at-bat, he took the 1-0 pitch deep to right for a two-run home run to give Arkansas the 3-0 advantage.

LSU has won its first three games of the tournament and is fresh on the mound.

Luke Bonfield, Chad Spanberger, and sophomore pitcher Kacey Murphy were all named to the SEC All-Tournament team.

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It was the fifth double-figure scoring effort in a row for LSU, which has outscored its SEC tourney rivals 31-3 in three wins. And in the second semis, also in seven innings, Arkansas pounded top-seeded Florida 16-0.

Walker (7-1) allowed just one run on five hits in 7.2 innings with one walk and a career-best eight strikeouts. Seniors Dominic Taccolini and Josh Alberius along with freshman Matt Cronin threw the seven inning no-hitter striking out seven while walking seven and hitting one batter. Spanberger was 3 for 6 with three runs and three RBI.

Arkansas made things interesting in the ninth inning when Koch reached on a walk and Evan Lee reached on a hit by pitch. Walker limited the Hogs to one run and five hits before being replaced with no one on base and two out in the eighth inning. The other runs were driven in by Beau Jordan and Nick Coomes, who did damage in the fourth inning on a walk and sac fly respectively. The regional host announcement will come tonight at 7:30 p.m.

"I just thought it ended up being a pretty good ball game at the end", Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. It was one that we felt from our side that we let a couple of opportunities slip away. "Three different pitches. Hopefully that's a learning experience for us in our preparation".

"That was about as complete a ballgame as I've seen played against us in my time here", Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. I thought they played hard. Walker calmly mowed through the Razorbacks lineup with precision, rarely even working with runners on base. He struck out five and walked two. "He made some really good pitches and you don't get many opportunities to extend the lead like that in the game". "We want to win a regional, a super regional and the World Series, so we're halfway there".