HOOVER, Ala. -- No. 8 seed LSU edged No. 4 seed Arkansas 2-1 to return to the SEC tournament title game for the 19th time. The Tigers are looking to defend their 2017 tournament title and increase their championship total to 13.
LSU is the fourth No. 8 seed to reach the SEC championship game and the first team to reach the championship game without a bye since the tournament expanded to 12 teams in 2013.
LSU starter Zack Hess (7-5) only allowed one hit and one run across seven innings while throwing seven K's. Sophomore Nick Bush earned his second save of the season by holding the Hogs scoreless for the final two frames.
"It's been a year of ups and downs, and we've had our backs against the wall a lot this season," said Hess. "Coming into this tournament, we were trying to play for our hopes of the postseason. After we got a second victory, we felt like we really solidified ourselves. Anything we get from here on out is icing on the cake. It's a testament to coach Mainieri because he always seems to get the most out of his team. Year in and year out, something special happens for LSU."
With no score, the game entered an 86-minute rain delay in the bottom of the third. Arkansas senior Jared Gates followed the delay with a solo homer to put the Hogs on the board.
The Tigers responded in the sixth with a home run of their own, a two-run shot from Zach Watson.
With two runners on base, the Razorbacks looked to rally in the eighth. Carson Shaddy hit one up the middle, where Brandt Broussard got the forceout at second to end the threat.
"I think it was a thrilling victory for us today," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "We got a win against number one and two RPI teams in the country, in the same day. It was a pretty exciting day for the Tigers."
UP NEXT: LSU faces No. 2 seed Ole Miss in the SEC championship game Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.