A response was required for Alabama baseball.
The Crimson Tide offense had been held scoreless for the first eight innings in a 12-3 drubbing by Arkansas on Friday night. Starting pitcher Brock Love had only lasted 1 2/3 innings in his previous start against Ole Miss.
“Every day, we expect a dog fight in the SEC,” Love said. “It’s just how it is. You have to show up every day, regardless of the night before. It can always change depending on the day, so you have to show up every day.”
Both Love and the lineup were ready. Alabama (19-5, 2-3 SEC) shut out No. 7 Arkansas (19-4, 4-1 SEC) 10-0 to even the series on Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. It was Alabama’s first shutout against the Razorbacks since 2013.
“I was concerned coming to the park today,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “Is this group going to lose confidence because we got thumped the night before? But they did a good job, they just went and played.”
The Crimson Tide offense gave Love an early cushion with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Left fielder Keith Holcombe hit a solo home run to start the inning. Shortstop Kolby Robinson singled with the bases loaded to drive in two more. That chased Arkansas starter Connor Noland from the game.
Meanwhile, Love threw a career-high 5 1/3 innings and gave up just two hits and three walks. His 83 pitches were the most he threw since his freshman season in 2016. Sophomore Brock Guffey came on to match his career high with 2 2/3 innings pitched, allowing two more hits.
“It was good to get out there and pitch well,” Love said. “It makes it a lot easier to pitch when you have the hitters putting up a three spot in the second.”
Alabama all but shut the door in the bottom of the sixth, scoring six more runs. Eight consecutive batters reached base to start the inning. The 10th and final run came across in the 10th.
“You don’t feel great about a three-run lead,” Bohannon said. “Once you’re able to put up another crooked number, it changes the complexion of the game in a lot of ways.”
All nine starters reached base; eight registered an RBI and seven scored a run. Robinson led the way, going 2-5 with three RBIs. Holcombe and center fielder Joe Breaux also registered two hits.
The series finale is on Sunday at 1 p.m.
“We beat a very good team,” Bohannon said. “Arkansas is very good, very worthy of their ranking. Then on top of that, the way we responded after a tough night last night. So really, really pleased with the effort and excited to come to the park tomorrow with a chance to win a series against a top 10 team with a pretty fresh bullpen.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.