Arkansas baseball team hurt by twisted number in Alabama loss

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama (28-25, 11-17 SEC) scored six goals in the fifth to overcome an early multi-point deficit and overtake No. 7 Arkansas (38-15, 18-11 SEC), 8-6. Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Arkansas and No. 6 Texas A&M (34-17, 18-11 SEC) head into Saturday, the final day of the regular season, tied for the top of the SEC West Division standings after losing the Aggies at Ole Miss, 14-6, Friday night. With a win tomorrow, the Hogs can clinch their fourth straight division title, having won SEC West in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

The Razorbacks opened an early advantage with help from Jalen Battles, Brady Slavens, Michael Turner and Chris Lanzilli. Each had an RBI in the first five innings of Friday night’s game as Arkansas led 4-1, entering the bottom half of the fifth.

Arkansas starter Connor Noland shot three frames scoreless to start his outing before allowing a run in the fourth and then facing disaster in the fifth. Alabama got a twisted number in the inning, scoring Noland for four runs before going to reliever Zack Morris for two more.

The Crimson Tide added to their 7-4 lead in the very next inning as right-hander Zebulon Vermillion allowed a home run to start the sixth. Alabama totaled eight runs over the middle innings of the game, putting Arkansas in a four-run hole with nine outs to go.

Lanzilli’s productive effort wasn’t over, however, as he doubled up a pair of runs at home in the top of the seventh to cut Arkansas’ deficit to 8-6. The Razorback right fielder powered the offense with three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs on the night.

Kole Ramage, pitching for the second straight day, pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings with four strikeouts to give Arkansas the opportunity to get even closer. The Hogs threatened by putting out two runners and getting the go-ahead at home plate in the top of the ninth, but the Crimson Tide prevailed and took an 8-6 win.

Saturday’s rubber game between Arkansas and Alabama begins at 1 p.m. on SEC Network+. Right-hander Jaxon Wiggins will start on the mound in the Razorbacks’ regular season finale.

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