Arkansas downs Alabama 10-2 to take series

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Sunday, March 24, 2019
Arkansas left fielder Christian Franklin (25) makes a diving catch on an Alabama line drive to left field during a college baseball game Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Gary Cosby Jr./The Tuscaloosa News via AP)
Arkansas left fielder Christian Franklin (25) makes a diving catch on an Alabama line drive to left field during a college baseball game Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Gary Cosby Jr./The Tuscaloosa News via AP)

— Five Arkansas players had multi-hit games Sunday as the Razorbacks defeated Alabama 10-2 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The No. 9 Razorbacks won the rubber match of the series to improve to 20-4 overall and 5-1 in Southeastern Conference games. Alabama fell to 19-6 overall and 2-4 in the SEC.

Heston Kjerstad and Dominic Fletcher each had three hits to lead a 14-hit outing for Arkansas. Fletcher finished with 3 RBI, including a solo home run in the eighth inning to cap the scoring.

It was one of two home runs by the Razorbacks. Casey Martin hit a lead off home run in the first inning on the second pitch of the game. Martin, Trevor Ezell and Matt Goodheart had two hits apiece.

Cody Scroggins allowed two runs - one earned - in a five-inning start to earn the win. Relievers Jacob Kostyshock, Kevin Kopps and Matt Cronin combined to throw four scoreless innings.

The Razorbacks struck out 10 Crimson Tide batters.

Arkansas jumped ahead 4-0 after scoring two runs in the first and third innings. Alabama pulled within 4-2 in the fourth, but the Razorbacks put the game away with four runs in the fifth on RBI hits by Fletcher and Goodheart, and a sacrifice fly by Jack Kenley to go ahead 8-2.

Arkansas won a road SEC series for the first time in two years. The Razorbacks have won four consecutive series at Alabama.

The game was the fifth of a six-game road trip for Arkansas, which will play again Tuesday night at Missouri State.

Arkansas 10, Alabama 2, Final

Razorback closer Matt Cronin makes his first appearance of the weekend and pitches a clean inning to finish off the win. Arkansas (20-4, 5-1) uses 14 hits to take two of three from Alabama (19-6, 2-4).

Cody Scroggins (2-0) gets the win.

Arkansas 10, Alabama 2, End Eighth Inning

Arkansas reliever Kevin Kopps fans the side in the eighth. With the Razorbacks up 10-2. Razorback closer Matt Cronin warming up in the bullpen for his first action of the weekend, albeit a non-save situation.

Arkansas 10, Alabama 2, Middle Eighth Inning

Casey Martin had a lead off infield single, stole second and then raced all way home when the ball was thrown away.

Dominic Fletcher then blasted his second home run of the weekend to get Arkansas into double digits for the second time this weekend.

Arkansas 8, Alabama 2, End Seventh Inning

Jacob Kostyshock got the first two Alabama batters in the bottom of the seventh, but loaded the bases and left in favor of Kevin Kopps. Alabama failed to scratch as Kopps fans John Trousdale.

Arkansas 8, Alabama 2, Middle Seventh Inning

Jacob Nesbit drew a one-out walk and stole second, but was stranded. Jacob Kostyshock back out for is second inning of work.

Arkansas 8, Alabama 2, End Sixth Inning

Jacob Kostyshock in to relieve Arkansas starter Cody Scroggins. Kostyshock had two runners reach base via an error and Drew Williamson's single, but worked around that to pitch a scoreless frame.

Arkansas 8, Alabama 2, End Fifth Inning

Scroggins allows a single and walks a batter, but works out of that situation to keep his team's six-run lead intact. He's through five innings while allowing three hits, fanning three, walking a pair, throwing a wild pitch and allowing two rune, one of which was unearned. Scroggins has thrown 73 pitches, 46 for strikes.

Arkansas 8, Alabama 2, Middle Fifth Inning

Kjerstad is drilled by a pitch and rides all the way home on Trevor Ezell's hustling double. Dominic Fletcher, Casey Opitz and Matt Goodheart follow with run-scoring hits and Jack Kenley adds a sacrifice fly.

Arkansas 4, Alabama 2, End Fourth Inning

Alabama cut its deficit in half with as Arkansas has an error, a single, John Trousdale's sacrifice fly and a second run scoring via a passed ball on a strikeout.

Arkansas 4, Alabama 0, Middle Fourth Inning

Alabama goes to its third pitcher in four innings with right hander Chase Lee now on the mound. Lee quickly fans, Jacob Nesbit, Christian Franklin and Casey Martin.

Arkansas 4, Alabama 0, End Third Inning

Scroggins pitches a clean third inning. He has allowed one hit in three innings with two walks, two strikeouts and 46 pitches, 30 of which have been strikes.

Arkansas 4, Alabama 0, Middle Third Inning

Alabama has pulled starter Wil Freeman after just two innings and 28 pitches and gone to reliever Kyle Cameron.

Kjerstad greets him with a single to center and Ezell follows with a double.

Dominic Fletcher's fielders choice plates Kjerstad and Casey Opitz does the same thing to bring in Ezell for a 4-0 lead.

Arkansas 2, Alabama 0, End Second Inning

Alabama gets two out with two out, but Arkansas starter Cody Scroggins get Kobe Morris to pop out in foul territory to end the innings.

Arkansas 2, Alabama 0, Middle Second Inning

Freeman looks strong in the second inning as he gets Jacob Nesbit and Christian Franklin to line out and whiffs Martin.

Arkansas 2, Alabama 0, End First Inning

Arkansas starting pitcher Cody Scroggins issues a lead off walk to Joe Breaux, but the ball never leaves the infield and Breaux is stranded at third.

Arkansas 2, Alabama 0, Middle First Inning

Casey Martin leads off the game with a solo homer to left off Freeman. Heston Kjerstad follows that up with a double. and Trevor Ezell can't get a bunt down fair, but ends up getting a walk.

Dominic Fletcher's bunt single loads the bases with no out and prompts a visit to the mound for Alabama.

That visit results in Freeman getting a double play grounder out of Casey Opitz that plates Kjerstad for a 2-0 lead.

Freeman follows that up by retiring Jack Kenley on a liner to right.

Pregame

No. 9 Arkansas (19-4, 4-1 SEC) and Alabama (19-5, 2-3) have traded blowouts so far this weekend with Sunday's series-decided third game looming at 1 p.m.

The Razorbacks will send right-hander Cody Scroggins (1-0, 3.32 ERA) to the mound to face Crimson Tide right-hander Wil Freeman (2-1, 3.20).

Arkansas, Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M are all 4-1 in SEC play and tied for the top of the SEC Western Division.

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