FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Tim Smalling had three hits for the Arkansas baseball team but an eighth inning outburst by the Alabama handed the Razorbacks their second loss to the Crimson Tide, 11-6, at Baum Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Smalling roped two doubles, scored one run and drove in another for Arkansas (27-20, 9-13 SEC) but his efforts could not undue a six-run eighth inning by Alabama (28-21, 12-11 SEC) that gave the visitors a five-run lead, 8-3. The Razorbacks would attempt to rally in the bottom of the ninth with three runs, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
“(The team) knows they have to come out and win tomorrow,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We just have to show up and get the job done this time. (Justin) Wells was cruising along until the eighth inning. We though he was pitching well and really spotting his pitches.”
Wells was saddled with his first loss of the season allowing eight runs on 12 hits over 7.2 innings of work. The Bryant, Ark., native was commanding on the mound through seven innings as he walked no one and struck out a career best 10.
After surrendering two runs to Alabama in the top of the fourth, the Razorbacks came back with three in the bottom of the inning. Ben Tschepikow led the inning off by taking the first pitch and smacking it off the center field wall for a leadoff triple. The hit by Tschepikow was Arkansas’ first hit of the ballgame. Logan Forsythe would drive in Tschepikow on a ground out to shortstop, but a single by Casey Coon and ensuing double by Smalling would score Coon. Brett Eibner would follow up with another double, scoring Smalling and giving the Razorbacks a 3-2 lead.
The game would remain 3-2 through the middle innings as Wells was at his best. In the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, Wells would pick up six of his 10 strikeouts.
The top of the eighth inning was when things turned bad for Arkansas when Alabama hit its second back-to-back home runs of the game driving in four runs. The Crimson Tide would continue to hit the ball well after a fly out and score two more on three straight hits including a triple.
Tschepikow would do his best to get the Razorbacks back into the game when he hit his first home run of the season over the right field wall. The shot brought three runs across the plate and closed the gap, but an eight-run deficit was too much for the Razorbacks.
Along with Smalling’s three hits, Casey Coon accounted for two others as he continues to swing a good bat for the Razorbacks. Tschepikow’s day extended his season best hitting streak to eight games.
The Razorbacks conclude their series with the Crimson Tide on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. with a pregame ceremony honoring the late Larry Shank at 12:45 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit www.hogwired.com.