Andrew Hutchinson is a multimedia reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas.
Crimson Tide Crush Diamond Hogs
NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS --05/25/2013-- University of Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn talks to his team following the Razorbacks 3-1 loss to LSU after Saturdays game against the Tigers in the 2013 SEC baseball tournament in Hoover, Alabama.
FAYETTEVILLE A game that appeared to be a pitcher's duel on paper was just that for three innings, as neither Alabama nor Arkansas scored.
Then a 53-minute lightning delay in the top of the fourth inning sparked both teams' bats, but Alabama's remained charged longer and the Crimson Tide won 17-9.
It was the most runs Arkansas has allowed in a game since losing to Texas 19-8 in the 2005 NCAA Regionals in Austin, Texas.
Alabama scored a run and had two runners on base when lightning struck within six miles of Baum Stadium, forcing the delay. Arkansas' starter, Jalen Beeks, gave up two earned runs and struck out four batters in 3 1/3 innings. He did not return to the game when play resumed.
Spencer Turnbull, Alabama's ace, also did not pitch after the delay. He allowed seven base runners in three innings, but the Razorbacks stranded all seven. By allowing no runs, he lowered his season ERA to 0.28.
Alabama's two runners eventually scored to give the Crimson Tide a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning, but a grand slam by Tyler Spoon put the Razorbacks on top 4-3.
It looked like Arkansas would hold the lead going into its half of the fifth inning, but a potential inning-ending double play was botched by Michael Bernal. The error allowed two runs to score and a three-run home run by Wade Wass capped the five-run inning for the Crimson Tide. It was a lead they would not lose.
Arkansas cut the lead to 8-6 with an RBI-double by Eric Fisher and a fielder's choice by Bobby Wernes, but a seven-run sixth inning by Alabama made it 16-6. The Crimson Tide added a pair of runs in the ninth, while Arkansas scored three.
Wernes finished the game 3-for-5 at the plate, while Andrew Benintendi went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI.
All but two of Alabama's starting position players collected at least two hits and the Razorbacks' bullpen, which came into the game with a 1.80 ERA, gave up 13 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Zack Jackson took the loss to drop to 1-1 on the season while allowing four earned runs in one inning of work.
The Razorbacks look to even the series tomorrow at Baum Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.