Chris Murray: Razorbacks Let One Slip Away, Still Successful on Road

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The Arkansas Razorbacks continued their road success in the Southeastern Conference, but for the second straight week, you’d have to think they returned home a little disappointed, despite winning another series.

The Hogs took two of three at Kentucky, giving up three runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose 4-3 in the series finale. That came one week after Arkansas won the first two games at Georgia, only to have the third rained out on Sunday.

In Lexington, Barrett Astin and four relievers pitched the Hogs to a 2-1 win on Friday. Jake Wise homered, and Colby Suggs struck out two in the ninth to earn the save. With a 100 percent chance of rain on Sunday, the teams agreed to play a doubleheader on Saturday.

Tyler Spoon and Brian Anderson homered to lead the Razorbacks to a 5-3 victory in the first game. Ryne Stanek pitched into the sixth, but it was the bullpen that came through again. Jalen Beeks fired 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief. Suggs pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save. But, playing three games in less than 24 hours meant Suggs would not be available for the nightcap, and that would prove costly.

Arkansas jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but it was unable to plate any runs thereafter. Randall Fant and four relievers looked to make it hold up, but Jordan Farris’ error with two outs in the ninth gave the Wildcats new life. Without Suggs, the Hogs looked to Landon Simpson to close out the sweep. Kyle Barrett tied it with a single, and Zac Zellers’ single brought home the game-winner for the Wildcats.

The Razorbacks improved to an unreal 9-2 in SEC road games, but still, over the last two weekends you can’t help but feel that could easily be 11-1. At just 6-6 in SEC home games, Arkansas stands at 15-8 in conference, and a frankly unimpressive 32-16 overall. With two series remaining, and then the SEC tournament, Arkansas might have some work to do should it have designs on hosting an NCAA regional. Then again, with LSU and Vanderbilt clearly the class of the league, the Hogs are also pretty clearly the third best team. You’d have to figure the SEC will get more than two host sites.

The Tennessee Volunteers come to Baum Stadium for the final home series of the season, with games set for 6:35 Friday, 6:05 Saturday and 1:05 Sunday.


The Arkansas Travelers and Northwest Arkansas Naturals split their first two meetings of the Texas League season. Brandon Hynick pitched six innings of one-run baseball as the Travs won 4-2 on Saturday. Matt Fields homered for Northwest Arkansas in the loss.

On Sunday, the Naturals pounded out 14 hits in a 12-4 rout of the Travs. Angel Franco homered and drove in five runs, and Rey Navarro also homered. Rolando Gomez homered and batted in three for the Travs. The two teams complete their four-game series with contests Monday and Tuesday nights at Arvest Ballpark.

The Travs are a game and a half back of Springfield at 14-15 in the Texas League North division. Northwest Arkansas is five games out of first at 10-18.


Notes: Central Arkansas dropped two of three games over the weekend to Southeastern Louisiana at Bear Stadium. That was the first Southland Conference series loss for UCA since the first weekend of the conference season, when it was swept at Oral Roberts. The Bears host Stephen F. Austin this weekend … Arkansas-Monticello is scoring in bunched at the Great American Conference tournament in Enid, Okla. UAM scored 19 runs Saturday in a win over Southeastern Oklahoma State, and came back Sunday to drop Henderson State 12-8. The Boll Weevils are the last unbeaten team in the double-elimination tourney. Tournament favorite Southern Arkansas won the regular season title with a 23-7 record, but must defeat Henderson on Monday to stay alive. Arkansas Tech handed the Muleriders their first loss, 5-4 on Sunday. Tech and Harding play an elimination game on Monday. A champion will be crowned on Tuesday.


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