On deck in Sunday’s SEC baseball tournament title game: LSU vs. Arkansas – The Advocate
WHO: LSU (42-17) vs. Arkansas (42-16)
WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, Hoover, Ala.
RADIO: WDGL-FM 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; KLWB-FM, 103.7
RANKINGS: LSU is ranked No. 8 by Baseball America. Arkansas is No. 13
SUNDAY’S LIKELY STARTERS: LSU, Fr. RHP Eric Walker (6-1, 4.04 ERA, 78.0 IP, 22 BB, 62 K) vs. Arkansas Sr. RHP Dominic Taccolini (4-1, 4.78, 43.1 IP, 25 BB, 38 K) or Fr. RHP Kevin Kopps (3-0, 3.16, 42.2 IP, 18 BB, 36 K)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Already in a record 18th SEC tournament final, LSU can extend its record with a 12th tournament championship and first since beating Florida 2-0 in 2014. This will be the first meeting in the SEC final between LSU and Arkansas. The Tigers are 5-0 in SEC finals under coach Paul Mainieri. LSU won two of three at Arkansas in early April, rallying April 8 from an 8-1 deficit for a 10-8 win. LSU has the rare luxury of throwing one of its regular weekend starters in the final: freshman Eric Walker, who went the distance to beat Arkansas 2-0 on April 9, allowing four hits while walking two and striking out four. Arkansas beat LSU 9-3 on April 7. The Tigers have won 10 straight and 15 of their past 17. The winner Sunday receives the SEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Arkansas has been designated as the home team.
ON THE RAZORBACKS: If any team has played better here than LSU, it’s Arkansas. The Razorbacks lost their opener 4-3 to Mississippi State but roared back to win the past three games by a combined 37-2. That includes two run-rule victories (12-0 with a combined no-hitter over Auburn, 6-0 Saturday over Florida) and a 9-2 rematch win over State. The hot-hitting Razorbacks are led by the hottest Hog of all, Chad Spanberger. In his past three games, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Arkansas first baseman has clubbed five home runs (tying LSU’s Greg Deichmann for second in the SEC with 19 on the season) and three doubles in 12 at-bats.