Hogs Break out Bats Early in 13-6 Win over Crimson Tide
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Freshman Logan Forsythe and sophomore Brian Walker combined for seven RBI and junior starting pitcher Daryl Maday held the Alabama bats in check for six innings to help Arkansas stem the Crimson Tide 13-6 in front of 6,436 on Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
With the victory, the Hogs (33-15, 13-10 SEC) took their second-consecutive game from the SEC West leading Crimson Tide (34-15, 15-8) and pulled into a second-place tie with Ole Miss just two games back of Alabama.
The Razorbacks scored 11 of their 13 runs with two outs including nine runs in the first two frames. Forsythe, the hero of Friday night’s win, came up big again on Saturday with a career-high four RBI. Walker matched a season-high three hits and drove in three runs of his own.
Maday (1-0) was masterful in his longest career outing as a starter. The junior allowed one run on five hits with three strikeouts. Maday didn’t walk a batter in earning the win. Senior Devin Collis pitched the final 2 1/3 innings to earn his eighth save.
Junior Bernard Robert (6-4) was saddled with the loss after yielding eight runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Arkansas exploded in the first inning for five runs on five hits. Senior Craig Gentry started the rally with a hustle double into right field. Sophomore Clint Arnold advanced Gentry to third with an infield single. After James Ewing fanned, junior Danny Hamblin singled to bring Gentry and the first Razorback run of the day home. It was the team-leading 60th RBI for Hamblin this season. Following a double-steal and a strikeout, Jake Dugger walked to load the bases. Forsythe promptly lined a 1-1 pitch into centerfield to score two more runs to up the lead to 3-0. Walker earned his first hit of the day when he short-hopped the center field fence to drive in two more on a double to make it 5-0.
The Razorbacks were back at it in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs, Hamblin laced a two-out triple to right center. It was Hamblin’s first triple of the season. Senior Chris Hollensworth walked and then Jake Dugger singled to plate Hamblin. The two-out single chased Alabama’s starting pitcher. Forsythe greeted Alabama reliever Patrick Kelly with a two-run triple past a diving Ryan Rhoden in right field to extend the lead to 8-0. On the next pitch, Walker scored Forsythe with his second RBI hit in as many innings to make it 9-0.
Alabama was hitless through the first three innings, but finally broke through with three hits and a run in the fourth. Back-to-back singles by Scott Downs and Alex Avila gave the Crimson Tide a pair of base runners with no outs. After a fly out, Evan Bush drove both runners in with a single to make it 9-1.
Arkansas got the run back in the bottom of the fifth inning. Walker was hit by a pitch and scored on a two-out RBI single by Gentry. Arkansas led after the midway point 10-1.
Alabama came alive at the plate in the seventh inning posting a five-run inning of its own off the Razorback bullpen. Alabama first baseman Spencer Pennington launched a one-out home run off of Brett Bollman to start the scoring. The Crimson Tide pulled closer with RBI singles from Downs and Emeel Salem to close the gap to 10-4. Kody Valverde plated another with a sacrifice fly and Bush doubled home the Crimson Tide’s sixth run of the day. Devin Collis came out of the UA bullpen and provided a key stop getting Rhoden to fly out to centerfield stranding Crimson Tide runners at second and third.
The Hogs answered in the bottom of the seventh with a pair of runs. Walker and Willard opened the frame with singles. Gentry bunted the runners over and reached on a throwing error by the Alabama shortstop. Walker scored on the error. Freshman James Ewing notched the second run with a sacrifice fly to make it 12-6.
Arkansas put the final tally on the board in the bottom of the eighth. A pair of two-out walks and a double by Willard provided the final margin 13-6.
The Razorbacks will go for the sweep of the Crimson Tide on Sunday. First pitch is set for 12:35 p.m. at Baum Stadium.