FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 12 Arkansas used a six-run ninth-inning rally to defeat No. 19 Kentucky in front of 7,372 fans at Baum Stadium Friday night.
Only about 2,000 of those fans remained in their seats for the Razorbacks’ heroics in the ninth-inning. Clint Arnold’s one-out double got things started for the Hogs. Kentucky pitchers then walked four of the next five batters – hitting the other – and leaving the bases loaded and the score 9-7 for new reliever Zach Dials.
Dials fanned Danny Hamblin before senior Chris Hollensworth ripped a two-out two-RBI double to right-center field to tie the game at 9-9. Freshman Matt Willard then hit a high-chopper to the third baseman, who committed a throwing error to score freshman Wayne Hrozek from third and give the Hogs a 10-9 victory.
The Razorbacks improved to 7-6 in league play with the win and 26-9 overall. The Razorbacks moved into second place in the SEC West behind division-leader Alabama (9-4). Kentucky falls to 25-9 and 7-6 in SEC play. The Hogs have now won three consecutive league games and five of their last six in conference play.
Arkansas reliever Brian McLelland picked up the win for the Hogs, improving to 3-1 on the season, while UK’s Andrew Albers dropped to 2-2. Albers walked the only two men he faced in the ninth inning on nine pitches.
Brock Barber worked 2.1 innings for the Wildcats, allowing four runs on three hits. He walked four batters, including two walks in the ninth inning and a hit batter.
Nick Schmidt struggled with his control early in the game but settled down and left with the score knotted at 4-all after six innings. The lefty got a no decision, allowing four runs on seven hits. He struck out six and equaled his season high with four walks.
Hollensworth, Hamblin, Craig Gentry and Logan Forsythe led the Hogs’ nine-hit attack with two hits each.
Antone DeJesus paced the Wildcats 14-hit attack with a 4-for-6 performance and two RBI. Ryan Strieby homered and drove in three runs, while Sean Coughlin went 2 for 5 with a home run and two RBI.
Kentucky jumped on top early with a two-out RBI single by Coughlin in the top of the first inning. It marked the eighth straight game the opposing team has scored the first run of the game.
Strieby’s cranked his ninth home run of the season in the third inning. The two-run shot to center field put the Wildcats on top 3-0.
The Wildcats tacked on another run on a RBI single by Strieby in the fourth inning off the outstretched glove of Blake Parker at third base.
UA plated a run with the help of two wild pitches in the bottom of the fourth inning to pull within 4-1.
Arkansas tied things up in the fifth inning with a little help from Kentucky. The Wildcats committed three throwing errors that led to three unearned runs. The only RBI in the inning was a sacrifice fly off the bat of Willard.
The three-error inning also proved to be the end for UK starter Aaron Tennyson. He pitched 4.2 innings, allowing four runs – one earned – on five hits. Tennyson walked a season-high three batters, uncorked three wild pitches and hit a batter.
Chris Rhoads came on to pitch in the seventh inning for Arkansas and retired the first two hitters before falling apart. He surrendered back-to-back-to-back two-out RBI singles to Michael Bertram, Shaun Lehmann and Ryan Wilkes to put the Cats on top 6-4. Devin Collis then entered the game and allowed RBI singles to DeJesus and Colin Cowgill.
The Razorbacks will look to win the series at 4:05 p.m. Saturday at Baum Stadium.