FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 14 Arkansas completed the improbable sweep of SEC leader Alabama on Sunday afternoon with a 5-3 win in front of 6,927 fans at Baum Stadium.
It was the first sweep of the Crimson Tide for the Razorbacks since 1994 at George Cole Field.
“We did a good job of hanging in there,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn. “I credit our pitching staff for not giving up a big inning and the offense came through with some clutch hits.
“We really did a good job of pulling together as a team this weekend. From our bullpen, to our defense and the guys in the dugout, we did everything we could to try and beat these guys. You couldn’t ask for anything more.
It was the first SEC sweep for Arkansas since taking three from Vanderbilt on April 8-10, 2005. It improves the Razorbacks’ record to 34-15 on the season and 14-10 in league play. The Hogs are in second place in the SEC West, one game behind Alabama and one game ahead of Ole Miss. The sixth-ranked Crimson Tide fall to 34-16 overall and 15-9 in conference action.
Alabama missed its chance to punch out the Hogs early, leaving 10 men on base in the first five innings. Alabama left 15 runners on base for the game.
Jake Dugger provided the power, crushing his 10th home run of the season off the Citgo sign on the scoreboard in right-center field to give the Razorbacks the lead in the sixth inning. The three-run shot capped a four-run inning that erased a 2-0 lead for Alabama starter Tommy Hunter.
Pinch-hitter David Hum singled up the middle to score the Hogs’ first run of the game just prior to Dugger’s home run. Hunter (7-3) left the game in the sixth after Brian Walker’s single. He worked 5.1 innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on eight hits while fanning five and walking one.
Walker finished with weekend 6 for 10 with two doubles, a home run, five RBI and a .714 on-base percentage.
Charley Boyce became the second pitcher in school history to win 30 games in his career (Scott Tabor, 34), working 2.1 innings. He allowed just one hit and struck out two to improve to 3-2 this season. He also tied Gerald Hannahs on the career strikeout list with 225.
The Crimson Tide answered in the bottom of the eighth inning with an unearned run off Devin Collis. The run scored on a wild pitch after a double-play ball ricocheted off Matt Wilard’s glove at shortstop with one out.
Brian McLelland replaced Collis and got Kody Valverde to fly out to the warning track in left-center field to retire the side. McLelland finished things off in the ninth to earn his first career save. He pitched the final 1.1 innings and allowed two hits and fanned two.
Willard singled home an insurance run with two outs in the eighth inning to put the Razorbacks back on top by two runs at 5-3.
Second baseman James Ewing’s fourth error of the weekend plated the Crimson Tide’s first run in the top of the second inning.
Alabama tacked on another run in the fifth inning on Spencer Pennington’s RBI single to right field. Chris Hollensworth came up throwing and nailed the second runner, Ryan Rhoden at the plate.Pennington’s RBI single would be the end of UA starter Shaun Seibert, who allowed two runs – one earned – on nine hits in 4.2 innings. Boyce came on and gave up a double to Brandon Belcher before getting Greg Paiml looking to end the Crimson Tide threat.
The Razorbacks are off until next weekend when they travel to Ole Miss.