FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Casey Coon went 3 for 4 at the plate including a leadoff double in the ninth, but a disastrous fourth inning in the field for the Arkansas baseball team led to a six-run inning for the Alabama Crimson Tide as the Razorbacks fell 11-7 at Baum Stadium on Friday night.
Arkansas (27-19, 9-12 SEC) held the early lead with two runs in each of the second and third innings, but Alabama (27-21, 11-11 SEC) came storming back with six in the top of the fourth to take the lead. The Razorbacks made runs at the Alabama advantage but could never get the key hit that they needed.
The Razorbacks had the Crimson Tide on the ropes at numerous times in the contest, but failed to get the final out of the inning as Alabama picked up nine two-out hits and scored nine runs off those inning-extending plays.
Things looked very good for the Razorbacks early as they pushed two runs across the plate in the bottom of the second inning. Coon and Tim Smalling produced back-to-back singles with two strikes to put runners at first and second. Brett Eibner would make it three hits in a row with a single through the right side which scored Coon and moved Smalling to third. Two batters later, Ryan Cisterna hit a towering fly ball to center field which scored Smalling.
The third inning was also productive for the Razorbacks with Ben Tschepikow working a nine-pitch walk with one out. Arkansas’ next batter, Logan Forsythe continued to wield a hot bat when he crushed a 3-1 pitch over the left-field wall. Two singles later and Arkansas appeared to have a big inning in the works but a base running mistake ended in a double play allowing the Crimson Tide to escape with minimal damage. The Razorbacks would take a 4-1 lead into the fourth.
Alabama would get things moving in the fourth with an opening at-bat single, but two batters later and the runner had only moved to second with two outs. A bloop single to left field scored one run and a double by the next batter plated a second. A sharp grounder up the middle skipped under an Arkansas glove prolonging the inning and two batters later Kent Matthes delivered a the big blow with a three-run shot into the Arkansas bullpen to make it a 7-4 Alabama lead.
The Hogs would get back on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning when Andrew Darr and Ryan Cisterna walked and doubled, respectfully. A groundout by Scott Lyons would score Darr and a sacrifice fly by Sean Jones made the score 7-6 at the end of the fourth.
Both teams would trade runs in the fifth inning with Arkansas’ scoring on a single by Chase Leavitt to make it an 8-7 contest.
The two teams went to the bullpens early to find the pitching support it needed to quiet the explosive bats and Mike Bolsinger was the arm that the Razorbacks needed. Bolsinger would throw a career high 3.2 innings out of the bullpen for the Razorbacks, striking out five over the first three but the second time through the order caught up to him and Alabama would tack on three more runs to the scoreboard for their final tally of 11.
For the Razorbacks, Tschepikow, Forsythe, Coon and Smalling, Arkansas’ number two through five hitters combined for 10 hits in 17 at bats with four runs scored, a double, home run and two RBI. The Hogs would pound out 14 hits on the evening, matching Alabama’s total, but the two-out hits doomed the Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks and Crimson Tide continue their series at Baum Stadium on Saturday afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 2:05 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit www.hogwired.com.