Hogs Drop Opener to ‘Dores in Extras despite Rally Raccoon’s Best Efforts

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Faced with a five-run deficit after three innings, No. 4 Arkansas (36-13, 16-9 SEC) used a little magic to come roaring back before falling, 9-6, in 10 innings to No. 24 Vanderbilt (33-15, 13-12 SEC) on Friday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Arkansas’ lead in the SEC Western Division dropped to one game with five contests left to play in the regular season. Second-place No. 10 Texas A&M improved to 31-16 and 16-10 in SEC play following an 8-7 win against Mississippi State on Friday night.

The Commodores jumped all over Razorback starter Connor Noland for five runs in the first three innings of the ballgame, silencing a boisterous season-high crowd of 11,772. Noland went five innings in the outing, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five.

Arkansas’ comeback began in the bottom of the fourth on Brady Slavens’ first of two home runs. Slavens’ first of the night cleared the JB and Johnelle Hunt Family Baseball Development Center in right, cutting the Hogs’ deficit to four.

He followed up Robert Moore’s two-run, two-out blast to left in the fifth with his second solo shot of the night as Arkansas made it a one-run game on the back-to-back home runs. Slavens, who finished with two hits and two runs batted in, now leads the Razorbacks in homers with 13 on the season.

As the crowd began to respond to the surging Hogs, a raccoon emerged down the left field line and ignited an already buzzing Baum-Walker Stadium. The Arkansas offense fed off the fans’ energy brought on by the Rally Raccoon, tying the game at five apiece on Jace Bohrofen’s single through the left side in the bottom of the sixth.

Vanderbilt would reopen a one-run lead in the top of the seventh, but Arkansas responded again in the bottom half of the frame. Moore led off the inning with a double before coming around to score on Chris Lanzilli’s groundout to second.

Tied at 6-6, the Razorbacks turned the game over to relief ace Brady Tygart with two outs in the eighth. The true freshman retired the first four he faced before running into trouble in the top of the 10th after a walk and double to start the frame.

Tygart nearly escaped the inning, but Vanderbilt’s Enrique Bradfield hit a three-run blast on a 1-2 breaking ball with two outs to break the deadlock in extras. Arkansas went down in order in the bottom of the 10th to seal its 9-6 defeat.

Game two of the series between the Hogs and ‘Dores gets going at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14, on SEC Network+. Arkansas, owners of the longest active SEC home series winning streak (12), are vying to post back-to-back seasons with perfect 5-0 series records at home.

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