The Arkansas baseball team captured another series win Sunday as the Diamond Hogs beat Alabama, 8-5, with some late fireworks.
Carson Shaddy knocked a two-run, two-out, opposite-field single to right field to break a 5-all tie in the top of the ninth to provide the winning runs.
The win gave Arkansas (22-6, 7-2) its third conference series win in three tries. The Razorbacks stay tied atop the SEC West with Auburn, as well.
The wild thing about Sunday’s finish was Alabama (13-15, 2-7) chose to walk freshman Dominic Fletcher to get to Shaddy. The junior second baseman took a 1-1 pitch right over the head of Alabama first baseman Cody Henry to plate Jake Arledge and Chad Spanberger.
Arledge and Spanberger had back-to-back singles to start the inning and give Arkansas two runners on with no outs to start. That’s when Davis Vainer came on for Garrett Suchey. Luke Bonfield put down a sacrifice bunt to move his teammates up a base apiece. Grant Koch struck out swinging to follow, though, leaving Arkansas with just one out left.
Shaddy had just one hit in the series until his game-winner.
Alabama had tied the game with two runs in the seventh after Kyle Kaufman singled and Chandler Avant scored on a wild pitch.
Arkansas had just taken the lead an inning before when Spanberger, who went 4 for 5, had a two-run single to break a 3-3 tie. Spanberger’s single in the ninth probably shouldn’t have been. It was a high pop-up that Spanberger ducked his head for when the ball came off the bat. But it plopped down between Alabama’s third baseman, shortstop and left fielder, allowing Arkansas the big inning.
Cannon Chadwick held the fort down in the final three innings, though not without some stress. His wild pitch let Alabama tie the game in the seventh and he started the ninth with a walk and a single.
Arkansas next faces, in SEC play, LSU at Baum Stadium. The Tigers are two games back in the SEC West standings.
Fletcher scored the final run of the game when he came home in the ninth after a wild pitch with Eric Cole at the plate.
Grading the Hogs
Every Arkansas hitter had at least one hit, though Shaddy was the final one to collect one. The Hogs had 13 on the day in 37 at-bats. Good. Not great.
Per usual, Josh Alberius was good early but stayed a little too long. Dominic Taccolini was fair, but was let down by his command. Chadwick started OK, too, but he let the tying run to the plate in the ninth before escaping. The crew gave up 9 hits and walked 4.
The Big Stick + Arm
He worked in and out of trouble his whole outing. The eighth was perfect. The ninth saw him bring the tying run to the plate before inducing a foul pop and a lineout to finish it.
Known for a long time as an all-or-nothing type hitter, Spanberger just had a 4-for-5 day against Alabama. His batting average is now up to .253.
What’s next for Arkansas?
The Razorbacks head back to Fayetteville for a two-game set with Grand Canyon on Tuesday and Wednesday. Next weekend the Diamond Hogs host LSU in an important series at Baum Stadium.