Hamblin Powers Hogs Past Georgia 7-6
ATHENS, Ga. – Danny Hamblin’s solo home run in the top of the 10th inning carried No. 9 Arkansas to a 7-6 win on Saturday afternoon in front of 2,952 fans at Foley Field.
Hamblin connected for two home runs in the game and drove in three of the team’s seven runs as the Razorbacks improved to 31-11 on the season and 12-5 in SEC play. Georgia fell to 14-25 and 6-11 in league action.
It was Hamblin’s 13th and 14th home runs of the season to give him 49 for his career, seven shy of Ryan Lundquist’s school record of 56. He has five home runs in his last six games and three in two games against the Bulldogs.
Travis Hill earned the win out of the bullpen to improve to 3-1. He pitched the final 3.1 innings, but surrendered a four-run lead in the ninth inning with two, two-run home runs. The first came off the bat of Jonathan Wyatt and the second by Joey Lewis.
Hill had retired the first four UGA hitters he faced before giving up a leadoff single to Ryan Piesel in ninth. Wyatt followed with a home run to right field. With two outs, he gave up a two-strike single to Matt Olson and before Lewis connected deep to left-center field to tie the game at 6-6.
Hamblin quickly gave the lead right back to the Razorbacks with a leadoff home run in the 10th inning. Both of his home runs on Saturday were opposite field shots.
Alex McRee, Georgia’s fourth of five pitchers in the game, took the loss to fall to 2-4 on the season. The home run by Hamblin was the only hit he allowed in one inning with one walk and three strikeouts.
Duke Welker pitched five-strong innings on Saturday, scattering six hits and allowing just one run with a strikeout and a walk.
Brian McLelland got the first out of the seventh inning after working out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning, but a walk and a single chased him from the game. Chris Rhoads came on and was only able to retire one batter on a sacrifice fly to center field and walked two before being relieved by Hill. Hill came on and got Matt Olson looking on four pitches.
Hamblin took advantage of a borderline call by home plate umpire John Whitaker on a 3-1 pitch in the third inning. Whitaker called the knee-high slider a strike on the outside corner as Hamblin trotted to first base. But the senior came back and responded on the full count delivery with a two-run home run to right-center field to give UA a 3-1 lead.
Three innings would be all for UGA starting pitcher Trevor Holder. He allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He gave way to Joshua Fields who was one of the nation’s top closers a year ago.
The Razorbacks worked Fields for an unearned run on 30 pitches in the fourth inning to take a 4-1 lead. With runners on second and third base and two outs, Logan Forsythe battled to a 2-2 count before dribbling a ball to the shortstop, who booted it to score Brian Walker.
UA scored two more off Fields without the benefit of a base hit in the fifth inning to chase him from the game with two outs and a 6-1 lead.
Matt Willard plated the first run with a sacrifice fly to right field after Ben Tschepikow laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third base. The second run scored on a two base error on the second baseman. Freshman Steve Esmonde came on to close out the inning for UGA.
Esmonde pitched well for the Bulldogs, throwing 3.1 hitless innings with a strikeout.
Georgia jumped on top of the Hogs in the first inning. Peisel leadoff the inning with a single and then sole second base to get into scoring position. He scored on a 3-2 single to right field by Wyatt. The Bulldogs got to Welker for three hits, but a 4-6-3 double play ended the frame.
The Hogs used their patented two-out rally in the top of the second inning to tie the game at 1-1. After striking out Hamblin and getting Tschepikow to fly out to left field, Holder surrendered three straight singles with Jake Dugger’s shot up the middle scoring Matt Willard. Sean Jones followed with a single up the middle, but Brian Walker was thrown out trying to score by Wyatt in center field.
The rubber game of the series is slated for noon Sunday from Foley Field in Athens.