HOOVER, Ala. — Hunter Newman and four LSU relievers combined on a one-hitter to lead the Tigers to a 3-1 victory over Arkansas on Saturday and advance to the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game.
Christian Ibarra went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs for LSU (51-9), which will seek its 10th SEC tournament title and its first since 2010 on Sunday against either Vanderbilt or Mississippi State. It was the third one-hitter in SEC tournament history.
"Our pitching staff was just phenomenal," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "To give a team like Arkansas only one hit through nine innings, that was just an amazing performance.
"I thought Hunter Newman was the key to the game simply because he got us off to a good start."
Arkansas (37-20), which was hitless until the sixth inning, capitalized on two errors and a pair of walks to take a 1-0 lead in the third. The Razorbacks drew five walks, and stayed in the game by stranding 13 LSU base runners.
"The positive for us — there weren’t very many of them — was we were able to wiggle out of a lot of jams," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "I thought our bullpen did a good job for the most part.
"Offensively, we didn’t do much of anything. We had one hit and hit two or three other balls pretty good. We had one hit and run and hit the ball back to the mound. You’ve got to hit it anywhere but the mound. That was disappointing."
Newman allowed only the unearned run in 4-plus innings in just his third start. Chris Cotton pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.
Tyler Spoon greeted reliever Will LaMarche (2-0) with a single for the Razorbacks’ lone hit in the sixth but Jacob Mahan grounded into a double play on the next pitch. Lamarche went two innings and didn’t allow another baserunner.
"I honestly didn’t think about that (no-hitter) at all," LaMarche said. "When I gave up that hit, I didn’t realize that was the only hit of the game until I came off the field.
"Yeah, I ruined the no-hitter but that’s all right. We got the win."
The Tigers scored twice in the sixth for a 2-1 lead after putting the first three batters on base to chase reliever Brandon Moore (1-4), Ibarra had an RBI single and another run scored on a fielder’s choice when the throw to the plate wasn’t in time.
Ibarra added an RBI double just out of the reach of diving centerfielder Matt Vinson with two outs in the seventh.