What LSU baseball's Jay Johnson, Arkansas' Dave Van Horn said about interference call

Koki Riley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

HOOVER, Ala. – Dave Van Horn knew immediately.

Kendall Diggs' bat had hit Alex Milazzo's glove and there was no question in his or anyone else's mind in the Arkansas baseball dugout that it was catcher's interference on the LSU baseball catcher.

"I don't know that big board replay showed (it), you could really see, but we knew immediately," Van Horn, Arkansas' coach, said.

It was only the fourth inning, but the bases were loaded with two outs. Arkansas had already tied the game at two, but if the umpires had seen what Van Horn saw, an inning-ending pop fly to center field would turn into an error and a run that would hand the Razorbacks the lead.

The umpire crew had seen it as well. Even after LSU coach Jay Johnson's protest and LSU (43-14) challenging the call, Arkansas (42-15) was awarded the infringement and the lead, as a two-RBI single from Jace Bohrofen immediately thereafter extended the Razorbacks' advantage to three.

"The amazing (thing) was he hit his glove. We heard it. We saw it. And the ball still made it to the outfield," Van Horn said. "If he hadn't hit his glove, he might have hit it over his head, the way we look at it. Other people look at it a different way."

That call and those three runs were enough for Arkansas, as it held LSU to just two runs for the rest of the contest to earn the 5-4 victory and trip to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.

"Diggs's bat hit Milazzo's mitt, and if it hit his mitt, then it's catcher's interference," Johnson said in regard to how the umpire explained the interference play to him.

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The loss places LSU in the losers bracket. The Tigers will face Texas A&M in a do-or-die matchup on Friday (3 p.m., SEC Network) for the right to play Arkansas on Saturday (noon, SEC Network).

Instead of getting the day off Friday, LSU will need to win three games in three days to win the tournament. But despite the loss, Thursday wasn't a total loss for the Tigers.

Starter Paul Skenes had his second-shortest outing of the season, and yet LSU only used one reliever. Riley Cooper, despite surrendering the two-RBI single to Jace Bohrofen and being on the mound for the interference call, had his best outing of the year by allowing no earned runs and just two hits in 4⅓ innings pitched.

It was the second consecutive shutout performance from LSU's bullpen after reliever Nate Ackenhausen surrendered just one hit and zero earned runs in 3⅔ innings pitched against South Carolina on Wednesday.

Given the bullpen's struggles this season, both performances – especially Cooper's – are just as, if not more, valuable to the Tigers moving forward as a win on Thursday would have been.

Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser. Email him at and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.