FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the second time in as many days, Florida rallied from a late deficit to defeat Arkansas 8-7 in extra innings Saturday in the second game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Baum Stadium.
Saturday’s 10-inning win came on the heels of Florida’s 8-7, 11-inning win in Friday’s series opener.
Florida (17-13, 4-4 SEC) won its third game in a row. Arkansas (15-14, 2-6 SEC), winless in its last six league games, suffered its seventh-consecutive home loss overall and fell to 0-5 in home SEC games this season.
The Gators’ Jason Dill drove in the winning run in the top of the 10th inning when he doubled to right field on a two-out, full-count pitch from UA reliever Josh Merryman (0-1) to score Mark Kiger for an 8-7 lead. Dill scored the winning run on a passed ball in the top of the 11th in Friday’s Gator victory.
Joey Simon (3-2) held Arkansas scoreless on one hit in 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the victory. The sixth Razorback pitcher of the game, Merryman came out of the UA bullpen to face the Gators in the 10th and gave up just one hit, the RBI double by Dill.
Florida’s Kurt Keene recorded his third four-hit game of the season to lead the Gators at the plate. Jon Youngblood and Greg Blum had two hits each to lead the Razorbacks. Blum led off the bottom of the eighth with his third home run of the season to tie the game at 7-7.
Both Florida starter Craig Mosher and Arkansas starter Gary Hogan Jr. gave up four runs in six innings, but neither figured in the decision. Mosher yielded just four hits while walking one and striking out one; Hogan gave up nine hits, walked four and struck out two.
Arkansas led 6-4 after seven innings, but three hits and three UA errors in the top of the eighth led to three Florida runs and a 7-6 Gator lead. UA first baseman Jack Welsh committed the first of those three errors, ending his errorless streak at 101 games and 262 fielding chances.
Welsh, who tied his own school record when he was hit-by-pitch three times in Friday’s game, was beaned once Saturday to raise his career total to 48 and tie Ryan Lundquist for the Arkansas career record.
The Gators will try to avenge the Arkansas’ three-game sweep season in Gainesvillle, Fla., when they try to complete a three-game sweep of the Razorbacks on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by the Florida-based Sunshine Network. Jared Manatt (1-1), who pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief on Saturday, will start for the Razorbacks. Florida will start Jeff Cardozo (2-1).