TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 8 Arkansas turned the tables on Alabama on Saturday in front of a paid attendance of 4,594 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium with a 12-5 win to even the series at one game apiece.
Jess Todd pitched six-strong inning to improve to 8-2 on the season with his fourth straight win. He is 7-1 in SEC play and tied his career-high with 10 strikeouts for the second straight week while walking two and allowing three runs – only one earned – on eight hits.
Danny Hamblin, Casey Coon and Tim Smalling powered the Hogs’ offense that collected 13 hits and tied a season-high with four home runs. Hamblin had his fifth-multiple home run game of the season and moved into a tie for third on the single-season home run chart with 19, tying Ryan Fox’s 2003 season.
Coon connected on his eighth home run of the season with a three-run shot in the fifth inning and tied his career high with five RBI to give him 65 on the season. Smalling tied his career high with four hits, including two doubles and two RBI.
The Razorbacks snapped a season-long two-game losing streak to run their record to 37-15 with a 17-9 mark in SEC action. Alabama falls to 28-23 on the season and 12-14 in league action.
Miers Quigley took the loss to fall to 4-6 on the season. He went five innings and allowed seven runs – six earned – on seven hits, including four home runs. He walked one, hit one batter and struck out two. Casey Kebodeaux allowed three runs out of the bullpen and Brian Griggs surrendered two runs.
Stephen Richards pitched the final three innings, allowing two runs on two hits with a strikeout for his first career save.
The Razorbacks were also hit by three pitches to tie the school record with 94 on the season. Coon was hit twice to give him 16 on the season to move him into a tie for sixth place on the single-season charts.
Two home runs in the fifth inning staked the Hogs to a 7-3 lead and put the game away. Coon got the scoring started when he crushed a pitch on a line over the left-center field wall for a three-run home run. Hamblin then followed with towering-moon shot over the left-field fence for his second home run of the game.
Arkansas blew the doors open with five runs on four hits in the top of the fifth inning, highlighted by a RBI double by Smalling and a two-RBI single through the left side with two outs.
It took the Razorbacks 10.1 innings but they got on the board with one out in the top of the second inning on Hamblin’s career-best 18th home run of the season. The long drive to deep cleared the fence just to the right of dead-center field.
Alabama answered right back with a first-pitch home run by Matt Bentley in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 1-1. It was just the second home run of the season allowed by Todd.
With two outs in the top of the third inning Sean Jones hammered a 0-1 offering from Quigley over the boards in right to give Arkansas a 2-1 lead. It was Jones’ first home run from as a right-handed hitter. His first of the season at Troy on Feb. 9 was from the left side.
A dink single to right by Greg Pamil and a tough error on Hamblin at first base came around to score on two-out RBI double into the left-center field gap to take a 3-2 lead. Todd threw 36 pitches in the inning with 26 of those after the third out should have been recorded.
The first-to-third move by Todd in the bottom of the fourth inning worked and saved the Hogs a run as Matt Willard tagged Salem heading back to first base before the runner from third could score.
Del Howell cranked his first career home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to cut the lead to 12-5. Smalling, who had a great game at the plate, turned a dazzling double play in the inning as he dove to his right and threw to second from his knees as Willard completed the twin-killing.
The rubber-game of the series is slated for 2 p.m. from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Hogs are 7-1 in rubber games this season, including a 5-0 mark on the road.