GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Austin Maddox broke a 2-2 tie with a RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Florida bullpen held on to preserve the win as the fifth-ranked Gators defeated No. 21 Arkansas, 3-2, on Friday night at McKethan Stadium.
The Razorbacks drop to 29-13 on the season and 9-10 in Southeastern Conference play, while Florida improves to 33-10 and 12-7 in league play.
Arkansas was able to out hit the Gators 8-5 in the series opener. The Razorbacks were led by Bo Bigham
, who had a season-high three hits with a RBI. Matt Reynolds
and Jake Wise
each added two hits in the loss.
Maddox had the biggest hit of the night for Florida, breaking a 2-2 tie with a RBI single in the sixth. Casey Turgeon had two RBI and went 1-for-3 for the Gators.
Florida starter Hudson Randall (4-1) picked up the win. Randall allowed two runs on six hits and struck out three in six innings. Maddox picked up his 12th save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek
(6-3) took the loss after giving up three runs on four hits and striking out three.
and Colby Suggs each turned in scoreless outings out of the bullpen. Lynch gave up a hit and struck out one in 1.2 innings, while Suggs pitched a scoreless 0.2 of an inning.
Arkansas struck first with a run in the top of the fourth. Sam Bates
led off the inning with a walk and moved to second after a groundout to third by Derrick Bleeker
. Bigham then grounded a single through the left side of the infield to score Bates from second for the first run of the game.
The Razorbacks stretched the lead to 2-0 with a run in the top of the fifth. Wise led off the inning with a double off the wall in left-center field. After the next two batters were retired, Randall had a wild pitch that Florida catcher Mike Zunino was unable to locate. Wise was able to score all the way from second on the wild pitch.
Florida scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs and a runner at first, Daniel Pigott singled to center field to put runners at first and third. Turgeon then doubled to the right-center field gap to score both runs and tie the game at two. Maddox gave Florida the lead with a single that scored Turgeon from second.
Arkansas was able to get a runner on base in both the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn’t score the tying run in either at bat. In the ninth, the Razorbacks were set down in order as Florida held on for the 3-2 win.
The series continues on Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT). Arkansas has not announced a starter for the game, while Florida will start junior left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson (5-2, 4.04).