Mikie Mahtook’s three-run home run set the tone early, and Austin Nola and Blake Dean put the game out of reach with blasts during a five-run sixth, as LSU moved to 2-0 at the College World Series with a 9-1 win over Arkansas Monday night at Rosenblatt Stadium.
The Tigers seized control early by giving the Razorbacks a dose of their own medicine by scoring with two outs. Arkansas, which had 30 two-out RBI in their first six NCAA tournament games, saw LSU jump out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first when D.J. LeMahieu singled and moved to second on a walk by Ryan Schimpf. After Arkansas starter Brett Eibner retired Dean and Micah Gibbs, Mahtook hit a 3-2 changeup over the wall in left for an early cushion.
Arkansas answered by manufacturing a run in its half of the first. Ben Tschepikow laced a one-out double, advanced to third on a single from Scott Lyons, and scored on Andy Wilkins’ sacrifice fly. The Tigers, however, got the run right back in the second after LeMahieu reached on a two-out single and scored on Schimpf’s double. After Eibner walked Dean, T.J. Forrest came in and struck out Gibbs to keep it a 4-1 game. While Forrest was able to keep LSU in check for the next few innings, it did not matter much because of the effort from Tiger starter Louis Coleman. After allowing the first-inning run, Coleman ran into trouble in the second and third frames, putting two on with one out both times. But he worked out of those jams and then settled in from there. Coleman retired the side in order in the fourth, worked around a two-out double by Wilkins in the fifth, and a one-out single from Jacob House in the sixth.
LSU broke the game open in its half of the sixth as Nola hit a solo shot to left with one out to make it 5-1. Forrest issued a two-out walk to Schimpf and Dean made it a costly one when he cleared the wall in right to make it 7-1 and chase Forrest from the game. Sam Murphy relieved and gave up a single to Gibbs before walking Mahtook. Jared Mitchell then plated Gibbs with a single, and a throwing error by Arkansas leftfielder Chase Leavitt allowed Mahtook to come in with the fifth and final run of the inning, making it 9-1.
Coleman left after going six innings, allowing six hits, three walks and recording seven strikeouts. He threw 106 pitches, 70 of them for strikes. Daniel Bradshaw was effective in relief, shutting the Razorbacks out in his two innings of work, while Nolan Cain worked a scoreless ninth for the Tigers.
LSU, which improved to 53-16 with the victory, is now off until Friday, when they will play either Arkansas or Virginia at 1 p.m. CST. The Razorbacks, who fell to 40-23, face UVa at 6 p.m. Wednesday, with the winner advancing to Friday’s tilt with the Tigers.