HOOVER, Ala. – Alabama scored five runs in the top of the first and Nathan Kilcrease struck out 10 in eight innings of work to lead the Crimson Tide to a 7-4 win over Arkansas on Wednesday morning at Regions Park.
The Razorbacks drop to 36-19 on the season, while the Crimson Tide improve to 33-24 on the season.
Kilcrease improves to 7-4 on the season, striking out 10 and allowing four runs, only one earned, on seven hits in eight innings of work. Jonathan Smart earned his 10th save of the season, striking out two in a perfect ninth inning.
Arkansas starter Randall Fant retired just two batters in his outing, allowing five runs, four earned, on five hits.
Brandon Moore came out of the bullpen and pitched great, throwing a career-long 8.1 innings. Moore allowed two runs on six hits and struck out two in his excellent relief outing.
Collin Kuhn had a pair of hits, drove in a run and scored a run to lead Arkansas at the plate. James McCann drove in two runs, while Tim Carver also had a RBI.
Taylor Dugas had a pair of hits, including his sixth home run of the season, and drove in a run. Brett Booth drove in a pair of runs and went 2-for-4, while Hunter Gregory had two RBI and went 1-for-3.
Alabama got to Fant in the first inning, scoring five times. Dugas singled to lead off the game and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Jared Reaves then reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners. Austen Smith was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A balk scored Dugas for the first run of the game and moved Reaves to third and Smith to second. Brett Whitaker then hit a chopper back to the mound, which Fant fielded, and got Reaves in a run down, retiring him for the second out of the inning. During the rundown, Smith moved to third and Whitaker reached second. Booth brought home both runners with a single to center field to put Alabama in front 3-0. Andrew Miller drove in the fourth run of the inning with a double to right field, scoring Booth from first base. Miller advanced to third on a throwing error by McKinney in right field. A bunt single up the first base line by Gregory plated Miller for the fifth run of the inning.
The Crimson Tide tacked on another run in the bottom of the third. With one out, Booth and Miller hit back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. A safety squeeze by Gregory scored Booth to put Alabama in front 6-0.
Arkansas cut the lead in half with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Kyle Atkins reached on a throwing error by the Alabama third baseman and then moved to second on a single to left field by Bo Bigham. A double down the left field line by Kuhn brought home Atkins for the first Razorback run and advanced Bigham to third. After a pop out to shallow center by Dominic Ficociello, McCann laced a double down the left field line, scoring both runners to cut the lead to 6-3.
Alabama stretched the lead back to fourth in the top of the sixth when Dugas hit a solo home run over the right field wall, his sixth homer of the season.
The Razorbacks answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the sixth. Matt Reynolds doubled to the right-center field alley to lead off the inning. A fly out to right center by Franco Broyles advanced Reynolds to third and a sacrifice fly to right by Carver scored Reynolds to cut the Crimson Tide advantage to 7-4.
Arkansas was unable to get any closer as the Razorbacks went in order in the final three innings.
Arkansas continues play in the SEC Tournament on Thursday. The Razorbacks will face the loser of the game between No. 3 seed Florida and No. 6 seed Mississippi State at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday. The game will be televised by SportSouth.