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Arkansas Wins Alabama Baseball Series 2-1: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

I’ll take Cliche Headlines for $1,000

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Arkansas vs Virginia Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The nice thing about baseball season is they play a lot of games, so if you end up with a cancelled midweek game against Grambling State (9-18 after a 1-2 series loss to Prairie View A&M this weekend) it’s not a big deal. The midweek game is a good time to get other pitchers some starting experience and to see if they are ready to step-in come conference tournament or NCAA tournament in a pinch.

The weekend SEC series is where all of the action is. Arkansas traveled to Tuscaloosa this weekend to take on the Crimson Tide in the 3rd SEC series of the season. Alabama started the weekend at 12-13 (1-5). They lost a midweek game against Auburn earlier in the week that doesn’t count towards SEC standings for either team as they have a 3 game series scheduled in May.

Game 1 - Everything Right

Alabama was only able to get 3 hits against Sophomore Left Hander Blaine Knight. Two in the first inning resulted in a single score for the Tide, but Knight looked sharp sitting down 22 of the next 23 batters he faced and not giving up another hit until the 8th inning. His final stat line for the game 8 innings, 3 hits, 7 strikeouts, 0 walks, and 1 run.

Knight moved to 4-1 on the season as the offensive side of the ball held up their end scoring 7 runs on 14 hits. Luke Bonfield was 3-5 including 3 RBI’s. Bonfield got the Razorbacks on the Board in the 3rd inning with a 2 run Homer (5th for the year). The Hogs built on the 2-1 lead to win 7-1.

Game 2 - Everything Wrong

The offensive success against Alabama’s Friday Starter Jake Walters did not carry into the Saturday game against Dylan Duarte. Only Catcher Grant Koch was able to get more than one hit. The Hogs generated 1 run on 6 hits .

The Tide dinged Arkansas pitchers for 7 runs including 4 on starter Trevor Stephan on 4 hits in the 1st and 2nd innings. After he was pulled, freshman Kevin Kopps held up until he allowed 3 runs in the 5th inning. With the loss, Arkansas was forced to its 2nd rubber game in as many weeks.

Game 3 - Winning in the End

Arkansas scored first taking a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the 3rd inning, but Alabama was able to score 3 runs off of starter Josh Alberius. The Diamond Hogs took the lead again at 5-3 thanks to a clutch 2-out hit by Chad Spanberger that scored 2 in the 6th inning. Spanberger was 4-5 for the day and scored 2 runs along along with his 2 RBIs in the 6th.

Dominic Taccolini walked the first two batters he faced in the 7th, and Cannon Chadwick came in to try and clean up the inning. Chadwick allowed a score on a single and another on a wild pitch, but was able to limit the damage to those two runs which tied the game at 5-5.

In the 9th, with the game tied at 5-5, Carson Shaddy came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Shaddy had gone 1-12 for the weekend, but was able to go the other way for a 2-run score on a single scoring Spanberger and Jake Arledge. Dominic Fletcher would score on a wild pitch to put the Hogs on top 8-5 heading into the bottom of the 9th. Chadwick allowed 3 different runners on base in the 9th, but no one got past 2nd base.

Arkansas will be in the Natural State for 10 of it’s next 11 games. There are 2 midweek games planned against Grand Canyon University and then #6 LSU will be in town for the weekend.