Batesville’s Wood earns first collegiate save, No. 6 Arkansas beats Alabama
Behind a dominant bullpen performance, No. 6 Arkansas fended off Alabama (21-8, 3-6 SEC), 6-5, in Sunday’s finale at Baum-Walker Stadium to clinch its second SEC weekend series win of the season.
The Razorbacks, winners of nine of their last 11 weekend series against the Crimson Tide, improved to 23-5 overall and 6-3 in SEC play with the win. Arkansas also extended its streak of consecutive games with a home run to 24 on Sunday.
Alabama jumped out to an early two-run lead after knocking around Arkansas starter Ben Bybee to start the game. Bybee failed to make it out of the first, recording only two outs while allowing two runs on two hits and three walks.
Fortunately, the Razorback bullpen was up to the task. Cody Adcock entered in relief of Bybee in the first inning and recorded the final out to keep Arkansas’ deficit at two.
Jared Wegner’s RBI single followed by a wild pitch that scored Peyton Stovall from third erased the two-run gap in the bottom of the first, allowing Adcock to inherit a brand-new ballgame. The right-hander was ready for the moment, tossing 3 1/3 innings of one-run ball with three strikeouts to keep Arkansas in the game.
Alabama retook the lead in the top of the fifth on a solo home run, but Wegner punched back in the bottom half of the frame. The Razorback outfielder socked his team-leading 12th homer of the year, driving in two runs – his 42nd and 43rd RBI – to put Arkansas up, 4-3. Wegner finished 2-for-4 with three RBI and raised his season slash line to .370/.496/.800.
Working with a one-run lead, Dylan Carter relieved Adcock and fired 3 2/3 innings of one-run ball with a strikeout. Alabama would score a run on a two-out wild pitch in the top of the sixth to even the game at four apiece, but Carter’s batterymate Parker Rowland came up clutch in the bottom half of the very same inning.
Rowland’s second hit of the ballgame was a first-pitch single to center, scoring Harold Coll from third and giving Arkansas a 5-4 lead headed into the seventh. From there, the Razorback bullpen did the rest.
Carter, who earned the win and improved to 4-0, fired a 1-2-3 top of the seventh and recorded the first two outs of the eighth before turning the ball over to freshman right-hander Gage Wood. Wood retired all four he faced, striking out one in his 1 1/3 innings of work to lock down his first career save and secure the Hogs’ 5-4 series-clinching win.
Arkansas, 20-2 at home this season, will host Arkansas State at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at Baum-Walker Stadium before venturing over to Oxford, Miss., for an SEC weekend series against Ole Miss on April 6-8.
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