Alabama Falls in Game Two vs. No. 9 Arkansas
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WCBI/UA Athletics) – Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek held the Alabama bats in check for eight innings and the No. 9-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks posted a 6-0 Southeastern Conference victory over the No. 22 ranked Crimson Tide on Friday night from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The loss drops Alabama to 19-13 overall and 7-4 in the SEC, and Arkansas rises to 23-8 overall and 8-3 in conference play.
“(Ryne) Stanek pitched really well and was as good as he was advertised, he had a really good night,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “As I told the team, we’ve got a lot of games like this in the SEC and we are going to see a lot of good arms, elite arms. At the same time, on our side you’ve got match that pitching wise and defensively you’ve got to keep the score down to allow your offense to get generated and get some momentum.”
Stanek (3-2) earned the win after pitching eight shutout innings for the Razorbacks, giving up only four hits and surrendering no walks with five strikeouts. Michael Gunn struck out one Alabama batter in a perfect final frame for Arkansas to complete the shutout.
Sophomore south paw Jon Keller (3-4) picked up the loss in his eighth start of the year, giving the Tide six innings of work and allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits and a walk. Keller struck out seven of the 27 batters he faced and threw a total of104 pitches. Sophomore righty Jay Shaw allowed two runs in his 1.1 innings, and freshmen Mitch Greer and Mike Oczypok combined to pitch a final 1.2 scoreless innings.
Freshman second baseman Kyle Overstreet stroked two singles for his ninth multi-hit game of the season. Freshman center fielder Georgie Salem was hit by a pitch, marking the ninth straight game that he has reached base safely, and freshman shortstop Mikey White was 1-for-3 with a single to notch the 10th straight game in which he has reached safely.
“After two games, Arkansas has beat us up in a lot of different ways,” Gaspard said. “But as I told the team, you have good weekends in this league and you have some rough ones, but you got to find a way to get a game. Obviously now, with losing the first two games, tomorrow’s game is the most important game. We’ve got to find a way to get the offense moving, put some good swings together, and put some pressure on their defense. They’ve really been dominate in the first two games. ”
Following a throwing error by Kenny Roberts on Brian Anderson’s ground ball, the Razorbacks loaded the bases on hits by Dominic Ficociello and Matt Vinson. An infield base hit by Jake Wise and a sacrifice fly by Jacob Morris brought in Anderson and Ficociello, respectively, for a 2-0 Arkansas lead in the second inning. The Razorbacks added two more runs in the next frame off of back-to-back doubles by Joe Serrano and Anderson, and a wild pitch and a base hit by Vinson brought Anderson home to push the Razorback advantage to 4-0.
Keller eventually settled in, finishing his start with three scoreless innings before giving way to Shaw in the seventh inning. The Razorbacks got a single from Serrano in their second at-bat of the seventh, before he advanced to second on a wild pitch. Serrano went on to score on an Anderson single, but the damage was limited when Moore threw out Anderson at the plate on a Ficociello single.
Shaw was chased in favor of Greer after allowing back-to-back singles to Wise and Eric Fisher in the eighth inning. Although Greer was able to minimize the danger, Arkansas was able to pull one across home plate on a Morris sacrifice fly, extending the lead to 6-0.
The Alabama Crimson Tide finishes up the series with the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. CT. Alabama will start RHP Spencer Turnbull (3-1, 2.59), and the Razorbacks will counter with LHP Randall Fant (2-0, 1.26).