Razorbacks Drop Road Series to Wildcats

LEXINGTON, Ky. – No. 2 Arkansas (40-9, 17-7 SEC) dropped the rubber game against No. 8 Kentucky (35-10, 18-6 SEC), 7-4, Sunday afternoon at Kentucky Proud Park to suffer only its second weekend series loss of the season.

With Sunday’s setback, the Razorbacks lost a series to the Wildcats for the first time since 2012 and took a road series defeat in Lexington for the first time since 2011. Despite the series loss, Arkansas retains its lead atop the SEC Western Division standings going into next weekend’s home series against divisional foe and nationally ranked Mississippi State.

After missing his previous start due to an injury, Mason Molina made his return to the mound and fired three innings of three-run ball with three walks and three strikeouts. The junior left-hander departed after throwing 40 of 67 pitches for strikes and turned the ball over to right-hander Will McEntire, who was pitching for the second time in the series.

Kentucky tagged McEntire, who recorded only two outs in the fourth, for three runs to open a 6-0 lead entering the fifth. Arkansas, which did not record a hit over the first four innings, responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth after Hudson White, who finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk, tallied the Razorbacks’ first base knock of the game.

Wehiwa Aloy’s one-out single scored White from second base before Jared Sprague-Lott’s one-out sacrifice fly brought home Peyton Stovall, who logged his fourth consecutive multi-hit game, from third to cut the Hogs’ deficit to four.

Stovall came around to score again in the seventh on Kendall Diggs’ two-out RBI single, helping Arkansas close the gap to three. The Razorback second baseman would hit a leadoff solo shot in the top of the ninth to finish the afternoon 3-for-5, including a double and homer, with three runs scored and raise his season slash line to a team-leading .362/.426/.586.

Stovall, who missed the first 12 contests of the season due to a broken foot, leads the Razorbacks in hits (55) and is second on the team in doubles (10), home runs (8) and runs batted in (35) through his 37 games in action.

Right-handers Christian Foutch (1.1 IP, 1 SO) and Gabe Gaeckle (3.0 IP, 0 ER) were strong in relief, combining to work Sunday’s final 4.1 innings. Gaeckle’s lone blemish was an unearned run, which Kentucky scored on an error in the bottom of the eighth, as the true freshman lowered his season ERA to 2.27 in 31.2 innings over 17 relief appearances.

Up next, Arkansas returns inside the friendly confines of Baum-Walker Stadium to host Mississippi State in the final weekend home series of the season. First pitch between the Hogs and Bulldogs is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 10.

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