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Big hits elude Razorbacks

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Big hits elude Razorbacks

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 11 Arkansas Razorbacks had their chances to score but could not get the big hit when they needed it most, falling to No. 21 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Sunday afternoon, 6-5.

The Razorbacks (31-17, 14-12 SEC) had nine hits in the led by junior Tom Hauskey and senior Scott Lyons who each had two, but left nine runners on base including two innings where runners were stranded at second and third. Alabama (35-13, 17-9 SEC) moves into second place in the SEC West with Sunday’s victory.

Looking to take the third game of the series, Arkansas wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the first inning as it scored three runs. Collin Kuhn continued to have a good series as he reached on a throwing error by the shortstop. A pop out was followed by an Andy Wilkins single up the middle and with runners on first and second Hauskey ripped a double down the left-field line to score one run. A passed ball let Arkansas’ second run score and a sacrifice fly by Ben Tschepikow made it a 3-0 game in Arkansas’ favor.

Alabama’s potent lineup would not be held down long as three home runs over the next two innings would give the Crimson Tide a 4-3 lead. Alabama cracked two long balls in the third inning, a leadoff by Alex Kubal and a two-run shot by NCAA home run leader Kent Matthes. The fourth inning for the Crimson Tide witnessed another leadoff home run, this one by Clay Jones.

The Razorbacks tied the game in the fifth inning but desperately wanted more as they loaded the bases with one out but could not push more than one run across the plate. Kuhn led off with a double just past the outstretched glove the Alabama first-baseman and would move to third after the Crimson Tide left fielder made a circus catch on a Chase Leavitt fly ball to the wall. Kuhn would score on a wild pitch and three walks loaded the bases, but a strike out and line out ended the threat.

The Crimson Tide took another lead in the sixth inning with their fourth home run of the day. This long ball came off the bat of Jake Smith and stretched the lead to two in the seventh with a Brandon May RBI double to left field.

Arkansas had another opportunity to push multiple runs across in the top of the eighth but couldn’t get the big hit to do so. Jarrod McKinney opened the inning with a walk and moved to third when Zack Cox hit a double down the right-field line. A pitching change ensued and Scott Lyons hit a bouncing ball to third base that caught Arkansas moving on contact. McKinney was caught in a pickle, but was able to scramble back to third base avoiding a tag, but Cox was caught between bags for the first out of the inning. McKinney scored just a few pitches later on another Alabama wild pitch to make it a one-run game, but couldn’t score again in the inning.

The Razorbacks had a chance to score in the ninth after Leavitt led off with a triple. Wilkins stepped to the plate a hit a rocket right at the Alabama first baseman who caught the ball before Wilkins could even get out of the batter’s box. A ground out and strike out ended the game.

Despite the loss, Arkansas did clinch one of the eight spots at the SEC Tournament by virtue of Kentucky’s loss to Auburn earlier in the day.

The Razorbacks return home for their final non-conference game of the season, a Tuesday night affair with Oral Roberts at Baum Stadium at 6:35 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Baseball