Arkansas loses series on play at the plate

By: Matt Jones
Published: Saturday, May 19, 2018
An Arkansas hat and glove sit in the dugout prior to a game against Louisiana-Monroe on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
An Arkansas hat and glove sit in the dugout prior to a game against Louisiana-Monroe on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, in Fayetteville.

Georgia 3, Arkansas 2 - Final

Heston Kjerstad was thrown out trying to score on a Dominic Fletcher sacrifice fly to shallow left field. Georgia left fielder Keegan McGovern threw back against his body and catcher Austin Biggar picked it off the turf to tag Kjerstad.

Kjerstad reached on a leadoff double and advanced on a passed ball. Carson Shaddy struck out and Grant Koch was intentionally walked to set up the lefty-lefty matchup between Fletcher and Georgia closer Ryan Webb.

Fletcher's first swing was the one that ended the game.

Arkansas ends the year without a road series. The Razorbacks won road openers against Florida, Ole Miss, LSU and Georgia, then lost the final two games.

Arkansas is one-half game ahead in the SEC West standings. Ole Miss must win today to tie the Razorbacks. The Rebels and Alabama are tied in the second inning.

Georgia 3, Arkansas 2 - End 8th Inning

Georgia stranded a runner at second base after a two-out single and wild pitch, but Isaiah Campbell struck out Adam Sasser swinging at a 3-2 pitch in the dirt to end the inning.

Arkansas will send Heston Kjerstad, Carson Shaddy and Grant Koch to the plate in the ninth, needing one run to extend the game.

Georgia 3, Arkansas 2 - Middle 8th Inning

Casey Martin singled with one out but was erased when Luke Bonfield hit into an inning-ending double play. Martin's hit was Arkansas' first since Grant Koch's RBI double in the fourth inning.

Georgia 3, Arkansas 2 - End 7th Inning

Isaiah Campbell has been good and efficient in two innings. He struck out two and got a groundout in the seventh to keep the Razorbacks within a run. He has thrown only 18 pitches.

The top of the Arkansas order will bat against Tony Locey in the eighth. The Hogs touched him up late Friday.

Georgia 3, Arkansas 2 - Middle 7th Inning

Kevin Smith has 11 strikeouts. At least three have come on high fastballs away from right-handers.

Carson Shaddy has struck out on that pitch twice, and Grant Koch did it again in the seventh for the first out. Jared Gates drew a two-out walk when he laid off the high fastball, but the inning ended on Jack Kenley's ground out to second base.

Arkansas has not been able to put a good swing on Smith in a few innings. His pitch count is at around 90, so he might keep going into the eighth against the top of the Razorbacks' order.

Georgia 3, Arkansas 2 - End 6th Inning

Isaiah Campbell was efficient, inducing a ground ball double play for the first two outs, then getting LJ Talley to fly out to center field to end the inning.

Campbell's velocity looked good that inning - between 90-92 mph on his fastball.

Arkansas has Grant Koch, Dominic Fletcher and Jared Gates coming to bat in the seventh. Gates replaces Jordan McFarland, who has not looked comfortable at the plate.

Georgia 3, Arkansas 2 - Bottom 6th Inning

Michael Curry's first-pitch home run has given Georgia the lead. The right-hander crushed the pitch from left-handed Evan Lee - a no-doubter to left field.

On both Georgia home runs, the hitters knew pitcher tendencies and crushed the first pitch.

Lee issued a four-pitch walk to the next hitter. Now Isaiah Campbell, who is battling a foot injury, is coming in to try to put out the fire.

Arkansas 2, Georgia 2 - Middle 6th Inning

Georgia left-hander Kevin Smith is rolling along. He struck out two more in the sixth to bring his game total to a career-high 10.

Carson Shaddy struck out for the second time to end the inning. Smith struck out Shaddy the same way both times, swinging at a fastball real high in the zone.

Georgia has some pitchers warming up in the bullpen, but Smith doesn't look tired enough to come out yet.

Arkansas 2, Georgia 2 - End 5th Inning

Keegan McGovern flied out to deep left field to end the inning and strand a runner.

The final line on Kole Ramage: 4 2/3 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts.

Arkansas 2, Georgia 2 - Bottom 5th Inning

Mitchell Webb doubled to lead off the fifth and advanced to third on a bunt single by Austin Biggar. Webb scored on a safety squeeze by C.J. Smith to tie the game.

Arkansas is making a pitching change after Kole Ramage struck out Aaron Schunk for the second out of the inning. Evan Lee inherits a runner at second base and will face Keegan McGovern, who hit the solo homer in the third. Lee and McGovern are both left-handed.

The bunt single worked because Ramage has a little bit of a follow through on his pitches. It was difficult for him to charge right after he fell away to the left, and third baseman Casey Martin never went toward the ball.

The book isn't closed yet on Ramage. The runner at second is his responsibility.

Arkansas 2, Georgia 1 - Middle 5th Inning

Eric Cole reached on a two-out walk and was stranded when Casey Martin flied out to shallow center field. Those two are hitless through three at-bats apiece. They combined for nine hits in the first two games of the series.

Arkansas 2, Georgia 1 - End 4th Inning

Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said before the game he hoped Kole Ramage would give him two or three good innings. So far the freshman has delivered four solid innings.

Georgia is not getting a lot of good swings against the right-hander. Three of the last six outs have been pop ups to the infield. There was one pop up in the fourth and two groundouts. Carson Shaddy made a great back-handed stop, spin and throw to retire LJ Talley and end the inning.

The Keegan McGovern two-out home run in the third is the only Georgia hit in the last eight at-bats against Ramage.

Arkansas 2, Georgia 1 - Top 4th Inning

Grant Koch's two-out RBI double off the wall in left field scored Luke Bonfield, who reached on a single the first pitch of the inning and advanced to second on a long fly ball from Heston Kjerstad.

That is Koch's second RBI of the game. He also had the RBI hit in the second to score Carson Shaddy. Koch hit the ball hard in the second, too, and might have been able to leg out a double, but he stayed at first. He is swinging well today.

Arkansas 1, Georgia 1 - End 3rd Inning

Keegan McGovern drove a first-pitch breaking ball the other way over the left-center field wall to tie the game. McGovern had struck out in his first at-bat against Kole Ramage.

Ramage got a couple of pop ups in the inning and struck out leadoff hitter C.J. Smith, who looked at strike three on the low and away corner of the strike zone.

Ramage has allowed four hits and struck out four.

Arkansas 1, Georgia 0 - Top 3rd Inning

Kevin Smith had an easy third for Georgia. Arkansas popped up, grounded out and struck out. Smith caught Casey Martin looking at strike three to end the inning.

Arkansas' first two hitters, Eric Cole and Martin, are 0-for-4 so far today after both having really good series so far.

Arkansas 1, Georgia 0 - End 2nd Inning

Kole Ramage issued a two-out walk on a 3-2 pitch letter high, then gave up a single in the next at-bat, but he got out of the inning with a three-pitch strikeout of Georgia catcher Austin Biggar. Ramage went to his best pitch, which is kind of a splitter, in the final at-bat and Biggar chased it twice for strikes two and three.

The coaches' hope today is to let Ramage go two or three innings, then turn things over to the bullpen. Teams have hit Ramage much better the second time through the order this season. Biggar is the Bulldogs' nine-hole hitter.

Arkansas 1, Georgia 0 - Top 2nd Inning

Carson Shaddy and Grant Koch both sat on sliders from Kevin Smith and the Razorbacks have the early lead.

Shaddy's second-pitch double gave Arkansas a base runner with one out, then Koch followed with a single to left to score Shaddy from second base. That was Koch's 30th RBI of the season.

Arkansas 0, Georgia 0 - End 1st Inning

Kole Ramage allowed consecutive singles to lead off the first, but he struck out Keegan McGovern and then got Michael Curry to hit into an inning-ending double play on a 3-2 pitch over the plate. Carson Shaddy did a nice job of getting the ball out of his glove quickly and Jack Kenley turned it to first base.

Arkansas hitters went down 1-2-3 against Georgia starter Kevin Smith in the top of the inning.

Pregame

Arkansas is counting on a freshman to give a good start in the Razorbacks' most important game of the season.

Right-hander Kole Ramage (1-1, 3.13 ERA) will start the Razorbacks' series finale at No. 13 Georgia. Isaiah Campbell, Arkansas' normal third starter, is battling a foot injury.

Ramage has not thrown in a game since April 29 against Alabama. He issued two of Arkansas' school-record 15 walks in that game and recorded only two outs.

The Razorbacks figure to have several bullpen arms available, perhaps with the exception of Barrett Loseke, who pitched 4 1/3 innings last night.

Arkansas clinched a share of the SEC West championship by virtue of Ole Miss' 3-0 loss to Alabama last night. The Razorbacks have a one-game lead in the West and can win the division outright with a win today or another Ole Miss loss. Ole Miss holds a tiebreaker over Arkansas.

The winner of the SEC West will be the No. 2 seed in next week's SEC Tournament and will play at approximately 1 p.m., Wednesday. If Arkansas loses today and Ole Miss wins, the Razorbacks will play the tournament's late game next Wednesday at approximately 8 p.m.

Arkansas is looking for its first road series win of the season. The Razorbacks find themselves in a similar situation to series at Florida, Ole Miss and LSU, in which they won the first game and lost the second game. Arkansas lost all three Game 3s.

Jordan McFarland will be Arkansas' third starter at first base in as many games. The move is likely made to get another right-handed bat in the lineup against Georgia lefty Kevin Smith (7-1, 3.25 ERA).

Jack Kenley will start again at shortstop in place of the injured Jax Biggers. Grant Koch, who had an ankle injury last week, is starting his second straight game. Koch also played late in Friday's win.

The temperature will be in the mid to upper 70s for the first pitch and the high is 84 degrees in Athens today. There is a 15 percent chance of rain throughout.

Darrell Arnold is the home plate umpire.

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