Arkansas baseball 4-9

NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER LSU's Jordan Romero heads for home after hitting a home run Saturday April 8, 2017 against Arkansas at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

J.T. Wampler

Sure, there was the LSU baseball team's 10-6 win in the series finale against Florida earlier this year, when the Tigers scored eight unanswered runs in the final two innings. 

There was also the famed "Rally Possum" game in May, when LSU rallied from a four-run deficit to beat Arkansas in 10 innings last year. 

But even well before both of those thrilling wins with the Tigers, Jordan Romero remembers when his LSU-Eunice team was down 10-1 to Western Oklahoma State in the fifth inning of the junior college championship series.

The Bengals outscored the Pioneers 13-2 over the final five innings to win 14-12. LSU-Eunice pummeled Western Oklahoma in the second game of the series to win the junior college national title. 

One of Romero's current teammates, Nick Coomes, was also a part of that LSU-Eunice team in 2015. Coomes and Tigers third baseman Josh Smith were Romero's teammates when Catholic High won the 5A state championship in 2013. 

So Romero feels he and his high school running mates are well-versed in the "will to win" that LSU needed when it trailed the Razorbacks 8-1 after six innings Saturday. 

"Since (the junior college national championship), I’ve always kind of believed that it doesn’t really matter what the scoreboard says, as long you get everybody on your team to believe in that will to win," Romero said. "It kind of takes over once everyone starts believing in it.”

And the Catholic High trio each played a role in a nine-run rally that ultimately turned the tide of the series in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Romero went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, including a solo home run in the second. He drove a one-out single in the sixth, and Smith later scored Romero with a two-out double to right center. 

Coomes, who entered at catcher in the seventh inning, led off the eight with a double down the left-field line and eventually scored on a fielder's choice. Coomes then singled in the ninth and scored the go-ahead run on an error. 

Smith was also hit by a pitch and scored in that ninth inning. 

“It’s kind of a special thing, being able to come back my senior year, and getting to play with Josh was kind of a cool thing for me. I was looking forward to it," Romero said. "Now, it’s actually a reality. This weekend, we all kind of contributed — me, (Smith) and Coomes. It’s kind of special.” 

Added Coomes: "It’s nice seeing our high school coach, Brad Bass. He’s still following us and everything, and he tweets and all that kind of stuff. So it’s definitely good to see the support from those guys over there.” 

Long trip 

Because its plane experienced problems before taking off, Louisiana-Lafayette was forced to take a bus back to Louisiana from its road series against Coastal Carolina in Conway, South Carolina. 

The Cajuns planned to stay in New Orleans on Monday night ahead of their matchup with the Tigers at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Shrine on Airline in Metairie. The travel distance from Conway to New Orleans is 813.3 miles and takes nearly 12 hours by vehicle. 

Tigers climb in polls

After a critical road series win against Arkansas, LSU baseball is back in the top 10 of three of the four major polls. 

The Tigers climbed to No. 9 in Baseball America and's polls and to No. 10 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's ranking. LSU rose six spots to No. 12 in Perfect Game's new top 25. 

Walker garners weekly honor

Eric Walker's shutout Sunday against the Razorbacks, the first by an LSU freshman since 2015, earned him SEC Pitcher of the Week honors, the league announced Monday. 

In a 2-0 victory, the right-hander from Arlington, Texas, held Arkansas to four hits while walking just two. He struck out four and has extended his scoreless-inning streak to 16 innings. 


LSU right-hander Matthew Beck will start Tuesday against Louisiana-Lafayette, but Tigers coach Paul Mainieri plans to use multiple relievers against the Cajuns. ... Mainieri also said Tigers sophomore reliever Caleb Gilbert was unavailable against Arkansas due to an illness.