HOOVER, Ala. – Freshman Ryne Stanek turned in the best outing of his young collegiate career, allowing just one run on two hits in a career-long 7.2 innings, while Kyle Robinson homered and drove in two runs as No. 20 Arkansas defeated Alabama, 4-1, on Friday afternoon at Regions Park.
With the win, the Razorbacks improve to 38-19 on the season, while Alabama falls to 33-26 on the season.
Arkansas advances to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament and will play No. 4 Vanderbilt on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. The game will be televised by SportSouth and also available online at ESPN3.com. Sophomore southpaw Cade Lynch (4-3, 2.82) will start for Arkansas, while Vanderbilt has not announced a starter.
Stanek was dominant throughout the game, giving up just one run on two hits in a career-long 7.2 innings to improve to 3-2 on the season. Stanek struck out five and issued three walks while throwing 101 pitches. Both hits Stanek allowed were in the fourth inning as he faced the minimum in five of the seven full innings he worked.
Trent Daniel came in with two outs in the eighth and slammed the door on the Crimson Tide, retiring all four batters he faced to earn his third save of the season. Daniel struck out one in his 1.1 perfect innings.
Stanek and Daniel combined to allow just two hits, marking the first combined two-hitter for Arkansas since the duo of Mike Bolsinger and Jordan Pratt gave up two hits in a 7-0 win at Ole Miss on May 9, 2010.
Alabama starter Jonathan Smart took the loss to drop to 4-3 on the year. Smart gave up three runs on six hits and struck out four in six innings.
Robinson continued his solid hitting at the SEC Tournament, recording his second straight multi-hit game. Robinson went 2-for-3 with his ninth homer of the season, two RBI and two runs scored. He also reached base a third time on a base on balls.
Dominic Ficociello added two hits for his team-leading 20th multi-hit game of the season. Ficociello went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Matt Vinson also added an RBI on a double in the eighth inning.
Collin Kuhn was hit by a pitch for the 49th time in his career, moving him into second place by himself on the career Arkansas hit by pitch list. He’s now three hit by pitches shy of tying the record of 52, held by Jack Welsh (1997-00).
Jared Reaves and Austin Smith each had a hit, accounting for the two Alabama hits in the ball game. Smith had the only RBI of the game for the Crimson Tide, while Reaves scored a run.
Arkansas struck first with a run in the bottom of the first. Bo Bigham drew a leadoff walk, but was retired at second on a fielder’s choice groundout by Collin Kuhn. After Kuhn stole second, Ficociello drove him in with a RBI single through the right side of the infield.
Alabama evened the game with a run in the top of the fourth. With one out, Reaves doubled to left-center field and came around to score on a bloop single to right-center field by Smith. A walk to Brett Whitaker put runners at first and second with one out. Stanek was able to escape further trouble by striking out Brett Booth and Andrew Miller swinging to end the inning.
The Razorbacks quickly grabbed the lead back as Robinson led off the bottom of the fourth with a prodigious blast over the left field fence for his ninth home run of the season.
Arkansas added another run in the bottom of the sixth. Ficociello led off the inning with a single and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by James McCann. Robinson scored Ficociello with a RBI single to put the Razorbacks in front 3-1.
The Razorbacks made it a three-run lead with an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Robinson walked with one out and came around to score on a two-out RBI double to the left-center field alley by Vinson.