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Arkansas outlasts Florida to clinch series

04/29/2012
Chad Crunk, Athletic Media Relations
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Arkansas broke a 1-1 tie with a pair of runs in the top of the 10th, highlighted by a go-ahead pinch hit single by Michael Gunn, as the No. 21 Razorbacks defeated fifth-ranked Florida 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at McKethan Stadium.

The victory clinched the series for the Razorbacks and improved the team’s record to 31-13 and 11-10 in Southeastern Conference play. The series win for Arkansas was just the third for the Razorbacks in Gainesville and the first since the 2008 season. Florida drops to 33-12 on the season and 12-9 in league play with the loss.

With the game tied at one in the 10th, Arkansas put together a two-run rally to take the lead. Jake Wise was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Morris. Tim Carver then grounded a single into left field to advance Wise to third. Gunn then came to the plate as a pinch hitter and lined a single into center field, scoring Wise and moving Carver to third. Dominic Ficociello then hit a grounder back to the mound. Florida retired Gunn at second, but was unable to turn the double play as Ficociello was safe at first and Carver scored.

In the bottom of the 10th, Barrett Astin came into the game and retired Florida in order as Arkansas held on for the 3-1 series-clinching win.

Colby Suggs (4-0) picked up the win on the mound for Arkansas. Suggs threw 1.2 hitless innings, allowing just one walk. Astin slammed the door in the bottom of the 10th to pick up his seventh save of the season. Astin retired all three batters he faced, with one strikeout.

Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale was fantastic. Baxendale allowed just one run on five hits and struck out six in 7.1 innings.

Florida reliever Johnny Magliozzi (4-2) took the loss. Magliozzi allowed two runs on one hit in a third of an inning.

Florida starter Jonathon Crawford received a no decision after giving up a run on three hits and striking out six in 4.2 innings.

Carver led Arkansas at the plate with two hits and also scored a run. Ficociello went 1-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and a RBI. Bo Bigham also had a RBI in the win for the Razorbacks.

Mike Zunino had a pair of hits to pace the Gators offensively. Preston Tucker had the only RBI of the contest for Florida.

The Razorbacks struck first with a run in the top of the first. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, Ficociello doubled down the left field line. Matt Reynolds was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second.  Bigham came through with a RBI single into right-center field to score Ficociello and put Arkansas in front 1-0.

Florida tied the game with a run in the bottom of the eighth. Justin Shafer singled with one out and then advanced to third after a single to right-center by Josh Tobias and a fielding error by Brian Anderson in right field. Nolan Fontana was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Tucker then hit a soft groundout to second, scoring Shafer with the tying run. Suggs was able to keep the game tied as he got Zunino to ground out to second to end the inning.

Neither team scored in the ninth to set the stage for Gunn’s heroics in the 10th inning.

Arkansas is back in action on Tuesday as it hosts Missouri in the first game of an eight-game homestand. The Razorbacks and Tigers will meet at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday and 3:05 p.m. on Wednesday.

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