TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Five Arkansas pitchers combined to allow one unearned run on four hits as the 12th-ranked Razorbacks opened their series against Alabama with a 3-1 win on Thursday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The Razorbacks improve to 22-8 overall and 7-3 in the Southeastern Conference, while the Crimson Tide drop to 19-12 and 7-3 in league play.
The Arkansas bullpen was the story of the night as four Razorback relievers combined to throw 4.2 scoreless innings. Jalen Beeks (4-0) earned the win out of the bullpen, striking out three and allowing just one hit in 2.2 innings. Beeks extended his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 16.2 with his 2.2 shutout frames tonight. Trey Killian worked a third of an inning, Chris Oliver struck out both batters he faced and Colby Suggs closed it out with a scoreless ninth inning, recording his fourth save of the season.
Arkansas starter Barrett Astin did not figure into the decision. Astin allowed an unearned run on three hits and struck out four in 4.1 innings.
Alabama starter Charley Sullivan (3-2) took the loss. Sullivan gave up three runs, only one earned, on eight hits and struck out three in five innings.
The Arkansas offense pounded out 12 hits in the victory. It was the Razorbacks’ sixth double-digit hit effort in 10 conference games this season. Willie Schwanke led the way at the plate, going 3-for-3. Joe Serrano and Tyler Spoon each had two hits and scored a run. Jacob Morris and Matt Vinson each contributed a RBI.
Brett Booth, Cameron Carlisle, Andrew Miller and Georgie Salem each had one hit to account for the Crimson Tide’s four hits.
The Razorbacks struck first, scoring a run in the top of the second. Vinson drew a 10-pitch walk to start the inning and then advanced to second after a sacrifice bunt by Wise. An infield single by Schwanke put runners on first and third. Morris then laid down a perfect bunt up the first base line, scoring Vinson from third and allowing Morris to reach on the RBI bunt single.
Arkansas stretched the lead to 3-0 with two runs in the top of the fifth. Serrano reached on a two-base error on a dropped pop up by the Alabama shortstop to start the inning. Spoon then grounded a single to left and a fielding error by the left fielder, allowing Serrano to score from third. With one out, Brian Anderson singled to right, moving Spoon to third. Vinson then drove in a run on a fielder’s choice ground out to put the Razorbacks in front 3-0.
Alabama got a run back in the bottom of the fifth. Carlisle reached on an infield single to lead off the inning, but was retired on a fielder’s choice ground out by Mikey White for the first out of the inning. A base hit to right by Miller put runners on first and second. Salem hit what appeared to be an inning-ending double play to the second baseman, but Schwanke couldn’t handle Anderson’s throw to first as the ball got past Schwanke, allowing White to score.
The run in the fifth was the last run scored in the game. Alabama did not go quietly in the ninth as the Crimson Tide put a pair of base runners on. Kyle Overstreet drew an 11-pitch walk to start the inning. After a wild pitch moved Overstreet to second, Chance Vincent grounded out to second for the first out of the inning, advancing Overstreet to third. White struck out swinging for the second out of the inning. A walk to Miller put Crimson Tide base runners on the corners. Salem battled Suggs in a 10-pitch at bat, but Suggs won the battle, inducing a ground out to short to end the game and give the Razorbacks a 3-1 win.