FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Alabama reliever Lance Cormier protected a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth as the Crimson Tide defeated Arkansas 9-8 on Sunday at Baum Stadium.
The win completed a three-game sweep for Alabama (26-16, 8-10 Southeastern Conference) as the Tide won all three games by one run. The sweep was Alabama’s second over Arkansas (16-23, 2-14 SEC) in as many seasons and extended the Tide’s winning streak in the series to nine.
The Razorbacks had their school-record home and league losing streaks stretched to 12 and 14, respectively. The Hogs are winless in nine home SEC games this season and have lost seven of their last 12 games by one run.
Cormier came out of the Alabama bullpen for the ninth inning, giving up a two-out single to Wes McCrotty and walking Jack Welsh before getting Jeff Hoefler to fly out to end the game. Cormier picked up his second save of the series and third of the year.
Alabama starter Jeremy Vaughn (4-2) gave up five runs (earned) on seven hits in five innings en route to the victory. Starter Jared Manatt (1-2) took the loss for the Hogs after giving up six runs (five earned) on six hits in three innings.
Scott McClanahan, Brent Boyd, Jeremy Brown, Darren Wood and Aaron Clark had two hits each to lead the Crimson Tide. Jack Welsh and Brian Kirby led the Razorbacks with three hits apiece. Arkansas’ Greg Blum went 1-for-3 with three RBI to finish the series 7-for-11 with seven RBI.
Wood stretched the Crimson Tide lead to 6-0 in the top of the third with a two-run home run, his fourth of the season and the only homer in the series by either team.
Arkansas scored three in the bottom of the third on three hits and sacrifice fly by Blum to cut the lead to 6-3. But the Tide greeted Razorback reliever Brad Bohannan with two runs in the top of the fourth for an 8-3 Alabama advantage.
Welsh cut the Alabama lead to 8-5 in the sixth when he laced an RBI double to right field and scored on consecutive wild pitches by Tide reliever James Carroll.
In the top of the eighth, McClanahan reached base on a one-out double and scored what proved to be the winning run on a wild pitch by Bohannan.
Arkansas answered with three in the bottom of the inning, including a two-run single by Blum. The Hogs threatened to score more before committing a baserunning blunder and grounding into an inning-ending double play.
The Razorbacks conclude their homestand Tuesday, hosting Oral Roberts at 6:30 p.m. CT. Arkansas will continue its SEC schedule next weekend with a three-game series at Georgia.