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Razorbacks lose first series of season


No. 16 Alabama defeated No. 1 Arkansas 5-0 on Sunday take the series and hand the Hogs second defeat in a row.
Arkansas (30-5, 12-3) won the opener Friday night 5-3, but then fell Saturday night 4-3 in extra innings. Dave Van Horn talked about Alabama's Zane Adams who worked eight innings, allowed just four hits, walked one and struck out five.
"He threw a lot of strikes and kept some guys off balance," Van Horn said. "We let some good pitches go by and swung at bad pitches. Got ourselves out a lot. But give him credit. He was ahead in the count, and we didn’t get him early. We hit some balls hard early and they went at people. I think our hitters got a little frustrated, pressing a little bit. He walked one hitter, (Wehiwa) Aloy, and then (Alton) Davis walked Aloy again in the ninth. But they didn’t give us anything, and we didn’t hit very well obviously."
Alabama (24-12, 6-9) scored one run in the bottom of the third then added two in each of the seventh and eighth innings. That was more than enough for Adams.
“It felt like nothing could go wrong,” Adams said. “I wasn’t thinking about where I was throwing the ball, I wasn’t thinking about anything, I was just letting it go and it was going where it needed to go. I just kind of got in a groove.”
Alabama Coach Rob Vaughn was very complimentary of the Razorbacks even after his team won a pair of games and the series.
“That’s why that team came in here number one in the country,” Vaughn said. “Because they pitch it at an extremely high level. They play elite-level defense. They take runs off the board with their defense.
“We just kept coming and didn’t let it fluster us and we just kept having good at bats. Bryce Eblin’s swing was a big one to put us up three. Those two runs in the eighth were huge. It lets you breath a little bit and let you get AD in the game with a little bit of a cushion.”
Jared Sprague-Lott and Ben McLaughlin each had two hits for the Hogs. Brady Tygart (3-1) took the loss. He worked five innings allowing one run, five "hits, two walks and struck out three.
"I thought he battled, competed," Van Horn said. "Really did not have his breaking ball for the first three innings. We were a little concerned, because he couldn’t land it. Maybe one time in three innings. Then the last couple of innings he started throwing a little more around the plate, got a strikeout or two with it. He was able to get us through five just down a run. Hey, that’s all you can ask. He did his job."
All wasn't lost for the Hogs this weekend as Peyton Holt moved to left field and had three hits and a big home run on Saturday night with two outs in the ninth to tie the game.
"I thought he played great the two games he played in," Van Horn said. "His first at-bat he hit a line drive to center, right center. When it left the bat, we thought it was gong to drop. There were two outs and a runner on second. (TJ) McCants ran in and made a nice catch. He just missed another ball when he flew out to left pretty deep. Or center, left center.
I liked his approach at the plate. It was really good to see as we’re trying to figure out what to do over there. Right now I’d say it’s his spot."
Alabama 4, Arkansas 3, 10 innings
Arkansas pitcher Jake Faherty committed an error allowing Alabama's Mason Swinney to score from second base in a 4-3 10-inning loss Saturday night.
Alabama (23-12, 5-9) had almost ended Arkansas' 11-game winning streak an inning earlier until Peyton Holt hit a two-out solo home run to tie the game at 3 and force extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th, Kade Snell doubled to start the inning. That is when Swinney was inserted to run for him. The move paid off as Swinney scored on Faherty's error. Faherty bobbled a grounder by TJ McCants and then threw it away at first base.
The teams started the game off exchanging solo home runs. The Tide took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when first baseman Will Hodo hit a Mason Molina pitch over the fence in right field.
Alabama moved to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Gage Miller hit another solo home run. Arkansas cut the lead in half in the top of the fifth when Peyton Stovall hit a solo home run.
Jared Sprague-Lott tied the game at 2 in the top of the sixth with a solo shot over the fence in left center.
The game stayed tied until the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Justin Lebron walked. He then went to third on a two-out single by Snell. McCants doubled Lebron home for a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth.
Arkansas (30-4, 12-2) got the solo home run by Holt to tie it with two outs in the ninth. Holt had gotten the start in left field and had three hits in four at bats. He just recently got a start in the outfield. He was expected to be Arkansas' third baseman this season, but Sprague-Lott has won that job.
Alton Davis II (3-1) got the win for Alabama. He worked two innings, allowed one hit, the home run to Holt and struck out three. He was the third Alabama pitcher in the game.
Arkansas 5, Alabama 3
No. 1 Arkansas jumped out to a big lead and then held off an Alabama rally to win 5-3 on Friday night in Tuscaloosa.
The Razorbacks appeared to be set for a rout when Ben McLaughlin and Jared Sprague-Lott hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the first for a 3-0 lead. McLaughlin's shot also allowed Wehiwa Aloy to score. Both Aloy and Peyton Stovall worked the count before the two home runs according to Dave Van Horn.
"You know Stovall had a seven pitch at-bat and I think Aloy had a nine-pitch at-bat, something like that, and he dropped one in down the right-field line," Van Horn said. "And then Ben fought off a couple and then hammered one.
"I don’t know. I would think it probably bothered him a little bit. All of a sudden he looked up and he’s faced two hitters and he’s already thrown 15 pitches and then after the home run, we made him thrown another 15-18 pitches. And it didn’t look like he was going to be out there very long because after the end of two he was right at like 49 pitches. Great job by our offense fouling off pitches and working to get something that they could handle."
Sprague-Lott got a couple of midweek games off and came back fresh Friday night. He was 2 for 2 at the plate and walked twice to get on all four at bats.
"He had a great day," Van Horn said. "He worked the count his first at-bat and then hit a solo homer. His last at-bat he got into the count a little bit and then smacked one the other way. They had a little shift on him, and they’re probably going to have to think about that now, that he can go the other way. And he hit it hard. Took the walk, got hit by a pitch. Had a great night."
Arkansas added two more runs in the top of the third. Hudson White singled to plate Sprague-Lott. Kendall Diggs scored on a wild pitch.
The Tide scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to knock Will McEntire out of the game. McEntire is usually one of Arkansas' most reliable pitchers, but he struggled on the night. He allowed four hits and all three runs scored by the Tide. He struck out two.
"Obviously it got a little tight there in the last couple innings," Van Horn said. "Give credit to Alabama. They made a run at us. We left a lot of runners nearly. Had a chance to kind of bust it open."
Hagen Smith got the start. He worked six innings, allowed two hits, walked three and struck out six. Smith (7-0) got the win. Stone Hewlett faced two hitters, walking one and retiring the other, before giving way to Gabe Gaeckle. Gaeckle retired all five hitters he faced to pick up his sixth save of the season and close the door on any Tide comeback hopes.
"I thought our pitching staff did a tremendous job," Van Horn said. "Hagen was outstanding for six innings. I thought Will had kind of tough luck pitching. They spun a couple balls a couple balls to the outfield on him and maybe he didn’t get a call here or there.
"But Hewlett and then Gaeckle came in and just pitched great. They threw, like, 90% strikes and got ahead of everybody and gave us an opportunity to win that ballgame.
"It’s tough winning. It’s tough winning on the road. We knew Alabama could really hit and we know we’re going to have to swing the bats a little bit better tomorrow."
Both teams finished with six hits on the night. The Hogs stranded nine runners while Tide left seven on. Ben Hess (3-3) took the loss.