FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Three Razorback home runs proved the difference on Friday night, as Alabama baseball suffered a 7-3 loss to No. 7 Arkansas at Baum Stadium.
“This was a tough loss tonight against a really good Arkansas team,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “We made a couple of mistakes early and they capitalized on them. I thought we competed well against (Arkansas starter Blaine) Knight and strung together some good at-bats, but (Jake) Reindl did a great job out of the pen for them, and we just couldn’t slow them down enough.”
A pair of two-run home runs along with a solo homer provided all the necessary offense for the Razorbacks, as Arkansas totaled seven runs on 11 hits, five of which went for extra bases. Arkansas starter Blaine Knight (7-0) picked up his seventh win of the season, limiting the Tide to three runs across six innings of work. Razorback reliever Jake Reindl recorded his third save of the season, working the final 3.0 scoreless frames. Alabama starter junior Sam Finnerty (4-3) suffered the loss.
Arkansas kicked off the scoring on Friday with a pair of runs in the home half of the first. The Razorbacks used three consecutive singles to start the inning followed by an error on the infield to cross two runs for the early 2-0 lead. The Tide did not sit by idly, evening things up in the top of the second. Freshman Sam Praytor led off the inning with a walk before Joe Breaux homered over the wall in right to make it a 2-2 game. The home run was the first of the junior’s Alabama career.
In the bottom of the third, the Razorbacks regained the lead with a two more runs. A leadoff double and a wild pitch put a runner in scoring position. One out later, a sac fly to right brought in the go-ahead run. The very next batter homered for a solo shot, making it a 4-2 game through three full.
Alabama (23-21, 5-14 SEC) cut the lead to one with a run in the fifth. Junior Kyle Kaufman led things off with a double followed by a single from junior Jett Manning to put runners on the corners. Cobie Vance, also a junior, followed with a sacrifice fly to score Kaufman and set things at 4-3. Arkansas answered right back, leading off the inning with another solo home run to push the lead to two again at 5-3 after five.
The Razorbacks added two more in the bottom of the sixth. A leadoff walk was followed one out later with a home run to right field for the 7-3, Razorback advantage. The Crimson Tide would get no closer, as Reindl secured the save and ensured the series-opening win for Arkansas on Friday night.
Alabama will look to even things up Saturday evening, as the Crimson Tide and Razorbacks are scheduled for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch on SEC Network+. The Tide will look to senior right-hander Jake Walters in the start while the Hogs will counter with junior southpaw Kacey Murphy.