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Georgia Avoids Sweep with 7-6 win at Arkansas

Georgia Avoids Sweep with 7-6 win at Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Two Arkansas errors and Mark Thornhill’s sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning combined to lift No. 17 Georgia to 7-6 win over Arkansas Saturday at Baum Stadium as the Bulldogs avoided a sweep in a three-game Southeastern Conference series.

Georgia (13-6, 3-3 SEC), ranked 17th by Baseball America, earned its first road victory of the season and its first victory in nine tries all-time in Fayetteville. The loss snapped Arkansas’ (12-11, 2-4 SEC) streak of six-consecutive home wins over ranked opponents.

UA won 8-5 in Friday’s series opener and blasted the Bulldogs by a 20-3 margin on Saturday.

Jeffery Carswell (4-0) earned the win, allowing one run on four hits while striking out six in relief of starter Brandon Moorhead. UA reliever Jeremy Rankin (1-1) held the Bulldogs hitless in his one inning of work but was charged with the loss when Jeff Keppinger scored an unearned run on Thornhill’s sacrifice fly.

Jeremy Brown came out of the UGA bullpen to record the game’s final two outs and earn his first save.

With the game tied 6-6 in the top of the seventh, Keppinger reached base on UA shortstop Jeff Fletcher’s throwing error and advanced to third on an errant pick-off attempt by Razorback catcher Kyle Washburn. Keppinger scored on Thornhill’s sacrifice fly for a 7-6 UGA lead and Arkansas stranded the potential tying and go-ahead runs in the seventh and ninth innings.

Fletcher’s error overshadowed his performance at the plate, where he and UA left fielder Jeff Hoefler had three hits each to lead the Hogs.

The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on back-to-back RBI doubles by Thornhill and Doc Brooks before UA answered with a run in the bottom of the frame. UGA expanded the lead to 4-1 on a pair of RBI groundouts in the second inning.

Fletcher led off the bottom of the second with a triple and scored on Cody Clark’s fourth sacrifice fly of the series to trim the Georgia lead to 4-2. Fletcher tied the game with a two-run single in the third inning, stole second and scored on Wes McCrotty’s single for a 5-4 Arkansas lead. UA made it 6-4 in the fifth when Scott Crossett scored on Clark’s sacrifice squeeze bunt.

Adam Swann’s second double of the game scored two runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 6-6. Swan and Blake Bodenmiller had two hits each to lead the Bulldogs.

Thornhill’s first-inning double extended his hitting streak to 23 games, including a hit in each of UGA’s 19 games this year after finishing the 2000 season with a hit in his last four games.

Arkansas’s Justin Leraris allowed four runs on four hits in two innings in his first start as a Razorback.

With UA classes adjourned for spring break this week, the Razorbacks will travel to Shreveport, La., for three games at Fairgrounds Field. The Hogs will play two games Tuesday, facing Kansas State at noon CT followed by Louisiana Tech at 8 p.m. CT. The Hogs will take on Centenary Wednesday at 4 p.m. CT. Arkansas will travel from Shreveport to Gainesville, Fla., for a three-game SEC series at Florida next weekend.

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