Alabama Falls, 7-1, to No. 21 Arkansas on Friday Evening
Alabama baseball suffered a 7-1 loss to the No. 21 Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the loss, the Crimson Tide moves to 12-14 overall and 1-6 in Southeastern Conference play.
“(Blaine Knight) is a guy that can really pitch,” said Alabama head coach Greg Goff of Arkansas’s starter. “He can mix his pitches up and competes at a high level. He was just in total command tonight. I thought we competed with him, if you watch the last few starts he’s had. We scored a run there in the first and had some good at-bats. We limited our strikeouts and hit some hard right at him, but he was in control tonight.”
Arkansas starter Blaine Knight (4-1) was in control on Friday evening, throwing eight innings of one-run baseball. In his eight frames of work, the sophomore righty limited the Crimson Tide bats to just one run on three hits, while collecting seven strikeouts. After surrendering one run in the bottom of the first, the Razorback pitcher went on to retire 19 Alabama hitters in a row, while sitting down 22 of the final 23 batters he faced.
Crimson Tide starter Jake Walters (4-3) was chased early after 4.1 innings pitched, handing the ball over to freshman Deacon Medders, who notched a career-high in relief innings with 3.2 while allowing one unearned run. The freshman righty also totaled a career-high in strikeouts, recording four punchouts in the effort.
The duo of Cobie Vance and Tanner DeVinny each collected a double in the game, with Vance adding one run scored. Hunter Alexander finished his night 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Alabama struck first in Friday’s series opener, plating one run in the bottom of the first. Vance led off the game with a double down the left field line before advancing to third on a deep fly ball from Chandler Avant. Two outs later, Alexander lined a single to left to cross the game’s first run and give the Tide an early 1-0 lead.
Arkansas answered back, scoring five runs across the third, fourth and fifth innings to grab the lead. The Razorbacks used a leadoff single in the third followed by a two-run home run to move in front 2-1 after three. In the fourth, the first two Arkansas batters reached on a hit-by-pitch and a walk. A sacrifice bunt advanced both runners into scoring position, before a passed ball allowed the man from third to cross. A single in the next at-bat scored the inning’s second tally to increase the Razorback lead to 4-1. With one down in the fifth, a trio of singles loaded the bases for Arkansas before a fourth consecutive single scored one more to make it a 5-1 game.
The Razorbacks added one run apiece in the eighth and ninth to extend the advantage to 7-1. After the Arkansas leadoff man reached on a catcher’s interference, a one-out single placed runners on first and third. Another single in the following at-bat crossed one to push the lead to 6-1. With one down in the ninth, a pair of singles combined with an error put runners in scoring position. One batter later, a groundout crossed the game’s final run to move the score to 7-1.
The two teams meet for game two on Saturday evening with a 7 p.m. CT first pitch on SEC Network. The Crimson Tide will call on sophomore left-hander Dylan Duarte in the start while the Razorbacks will counter with junior righty Trevor Stephan.