HOOVER, Ala. -- LSU captured the 2017 SEC Baseball Tournament title with a 4-2 win against Arkansas. This is the Tigers' 12th SEC Tournament crown, the most in the conference.
LSU became the first regular-season champion to win the SEC Tournament since Florida in 2011. The win marks LSU coach Paul Mainieri's sixth SEC Tournament title, tied with Skip Bertman and Jim Wells for most by any coach.
"There's a way that you have to play to be able to win championships and it can be a learned thing," said Mainieri. "We have won three championships so far where we woke up in the morning and known that we are playing for a championship that day, an SEC Western Division, an overall SEC and then the tournament here. That can't do anything but help you when you go into the NCAA tournament when we know that that day is a championship day. These kids will now have experienced what it's like to get the job done when all the marbles are out there and I think this will bode well for us going forward."
"We had to go out there and get the job done," said LSU senior Kramer Robertson. "I couldn't be prouder of these guys. We went out there and our pitchers pitched awesome and we played with a sense of urgency."
Two teams that have displayed offensive power throughout the SEC Tournament were shut down at the plate in the first two innings, producing only one hit each.
The offense started to heat up in the bottom of the third, with Eric Cole hitting a solo shot to right center to put the Razorbacks on the board.
The Tigers responded in the top of the next inning by loading the bases, which ended the day for Arkansas starter Kevin Kopps.
Greg Deichmann, who is tied for second in the conference with 19 home runs, came to the plate to face LHP Matt Cronin. The freshman did his job on the mound, striking out Deichmann.
Arkansas made a pitching change again, with Cannon Chadwick up next. LSU first baseman Nick Coomes drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at 1-1.
Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn went to the bullpen again, calling in senior Josh Alberius. Josh Smith grabbed the lead for the Tigers by hitting an RBI single and LSU added another run when Antoine Duplantis crossed home plate on Beau Jordan's fly ball to right field.
LSU tacked on another run in the sixth when Duplantis tagged up on a fly ball by Coomes, extending the lead to 4-1. The Razorbacks brought in their fifth pitcher of the game for the start of the seventh, senior Dominic Taccolini.
Tigers starter Eric Walker left the game to a standing ovation after throwing eight K's and giving up only one run on five hits across 7.2 innings.
"He's a beast," said LSU ace Alex Lange about Walker. "That was incredible. That was a gutsy performance from a freshman. That's awesome. That's what we're going to need down the stretch. I told him earlier this week, I'm like, 'hey man every time you get the rock the rest of the year you're pitching for a championship. That's the way it's going to be whether you like it or not so let's get after it.' He rose to the occasion. He's incredible."
Cole came up big for the Razorbacks again in the bottom of the ninth by hitting an RBI single to cut the lead to two.
Chad Spanberger, who hit five home runs in the SEC Tournament, was intentionally walked, loading the bases and setting up a potential rally for the Razorbacks as Luke Bonfield stepped up to the plate.
Bonfield grounded into a fielder's choice, with Eric Cole out at third to clinch the title for the Tigers.
"The boo birds were there and they wanted us to pitch to him but you don't let their best guy beat you," Lange said about tournament MVP Spanberger coming to the plate for Arkansas in the bottom of the ninth. "That's the way the game goes. I was right there with coach and I knew we were going to pitch out of it. It was awesome."
The 2017 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship bracket will be announced Monday at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
2017 SEC Baseball All-Tournament Team
P: Alex Lange, LSU
P: Kacey Murphy, Arkansas
C: Blake Logan, Auburn
DH: Luke Bonfield, Arkansas
1B: Chad Spanberger, Arkansas
2B: Cole Freeman, LSU
3B: Jonah Bride, South Carolina
SS: Kramer Robertson, LSU
OF: Greg Deichmann, LSU
OF: Antoine Duplantis, LSU
OF: Carlos Cortes, South Carolina
Most Valuable Player: Chad Spanberger, Arkansas