HOOVER, Ala. – Brett Eibner allowed one run over six innings and Andy Wilkins hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth to tie the game but the No. 20 Arkansas Razorback baseball team could not muster enough offense to defeat the No. 21 Georgia Bulldogs, falling in 10 innings in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, 2-1.
Arkansas (33-21) rallied in the ninth inning to tie the game against Georgia (39-20) who takes their third game from the Razorbacks this season, all by one run and all in the last at bat.
“It was a well played ball game,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it. We did a nice job of scoring in the ninth, but a two-out hit and we have the lead.”
Georgia pitcher Trevor Holder had the best outing of his career entering the ninth inning, allowing just three hits through eight innings and retiring 15 straight. Chase Leavitt greeted Holder in the ninth inning with a single to center field and moved to third when Ben Tschepikow singled to left. A strike out later and Andy Wilkins stepped to the plate looking to tie the game. Falling behind in the count 1-2, Wilkins lofted a deep fly ball to center field which scored Leavitt from third base and knotted the game at one.
Arkansas held Georgia scoreless in the bottom of the ninth and had an opportunity to score in the 10th. Bo Bigham hit a one-out single through the left side and stole second to get into scoring position. He would move to third on a ground out, but Arkansas’ next batter struck out ending the threat.
The Bulldogs, on a high from the top of the 10th drama, opened the bottom of the inning with a single and double with no outs. An intentional walk loaded the bases and the next batter hit a sharp ground ball to third base which Zack Cox made a fantastic diving grab to stop. Cox stood and fired to home plate but Ryan Cisterna could not keep his foot on the plate allowing the winning run to score and end the game.
On the mound, Eibner was brilliant against the Bulldogs in two outings this season. One of the nation’s most explosive offenses, Eibner tossed 14 consecutive shutout innings against Georgia before the Bulldogs finally scored one against the Houston, Texas, native. In two appearances against Georgia this year, Eibner pitched 15 innings and allowed just one run on six hits.
The Razorbacks had a scare in the bottom of the second inning when a two-out double by Colby May nearly led to the first run of the game. The next batter, Levi Hyams, hit a shot up the middle that Bo Bigham made a nice sliding stop on to keep the ball in the infield. May, who was running on the pitch, took a wide turn around first which Bigham saw and running at May, he forced him to commit towards home plate and eventually got him out by throwing the ball to the catcher and then to third base.
Georgia finally broke through to score the game’s first run in the bottom of the second inning when the Bulldogs got back-to-back doubles from their two best hitters, Rich Poythress and Bryce Massanari to lead off the inning. A pair of walks and a pair of fly outs loaded the bases with two outs, but Eibner would strike out the next batter, a pinch hitter, looking to end the threat and keep it a 1-0 game.
The Razorback loss means that Arkansas will once again face the Florida Gators at the SEC Tournament in an elimination game at 3 p.m. on Friday. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.