Fayetteville, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks overcame an early five-run deficit and sloppy play to post a 10-9 victory over the Centenary Gents Tuesday night at Baum Stadium.Arkansas improved to 13-6 overall, while Centenary dropped to 7-10 with the loss.
Matt Stallings (1-0) earned his first victory as a Razorback after pitching four solid innings in relief of starter Clint Brannon. Stallings allowed one run, earned, on three hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts.
Jay Sawatski earned his first save despite giving up a solo home run in the ninth. Sawatski recorded three strikeouts in his one inning stint.
Kevin Willborn (2-3) took the loss after surrendering nine runs, six earned, on 10 hits in seven innings of work. Willborn threw 107 pitches, walking three and striking out five.
The Gents took advantage of three Arkansas errors to score five runs in the top of the first inning. Centenary managed only one hit while Brannon walked one batter and hit another as the Razorbacks found themselves down early.
In the bottom of the first, Casey Rowlett gave Arkansas its first run when walked, stole second and moved to third on a bad throw by the catcher. Rowlett crossed the plate on a wild pitch to make it a 5-1 game. Jake Dugger narrowed the gap by a run with a solo home run to right. It was Dugger’s first home run of the season.
Centenary made it 6-2 when Alex Valdivia singled home Blake Adkison who doubled to left to open the third inning.
The Razorbacks tied the game in the bottom of the third. Blake Parker picked up an RBI when he drove home Rowlett with a single to shallow center that made it a 6-3 game. With the bases loaded, Haas Pratt popped a single to right that plated Dugger and cut the lead to two runs.
Still in third, Devin Day singled to right to plate Pratt and Danny Hamblin and tie the game at 6-6.
Arkansas took its first lead of the night with a three-run fifth inning. After Brady Toops bunted runners to second and third, Scott Bridges struck out swinging but advanced to first on a passed ball that allowed Hamblin to score for a 7-6 lead.
Later in the fifth, Kern Watts gave the Hogs a 9-6 lead when his ground ball was booted by the second baseman allowing Pratt and Bridges to score.
Centenary cut the deficit to 9-7 with an RBI single by Valdivia in the top of the seventh inning.
The Gents continued to chip away at the Arkansas lead as Bobby Gilliam plated a run with a single in the top of the eighth inning. Arkansas got out of the inning when Caton Hall caught Tony Cardone trying to steal for the third out. The tying run was at third.
In the ninth, Sawatski fanned Jesse Newell for the first out, but then gave up a solo bomb to Adkison that cut the lead to 10-9. The senior from Little Rock rebounded, however, and struck out Willett and Valdivia to end the game.
Arkansas and Centenary conclude their series Wednesday. First pitch is set for 12:05 p.m.