Hogs' skid now 9, longest in 51 years

By: Tom Murphy Tom Murphy's Twitter account
Published: Monday, May 16, 2016
Arkansas' Zach Jackson pitches against Alabama on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
( Ben Goff)
Arkansas' Zach Jackson pitches against Alabama on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- In a season chock full of hard-to-swallow losses, Arkansas suffered perhaps its most painful defeat of the year on Sunday.

The Razorbacks were one strike away from closing out a one-run game against Alabama before Georgie Salem laced a two-run single up the middle against James Teague in the ninth inning.



WHEN 6:35 p.m., Tuesday

WHERE Baum Stadium

RECORDS Missouri State 30-19; Arkansas 26-25

RADIO Razorback Sports Network. Not all games will be carried by affiliates. Check local listings.


Alabama hit seven home runs in the series, 38.9 percent of its season total of 18, lowest in the SEC, heading into the weekend. … Arkansas first baseman Cullen Gassaway got on base in all four plate appearances with two singles, a walk and an error on third baseman Chance Vincent. … Arkansas out-hit Alabama 27-26 in the series and had no errors to the Crimson Tide’s four. … Arkansas’ 9-game losing streak is its most since a 12-game skid in 1965.



TUESDAY Missouri State, 6:35 p.m.


THURSDAY at Miss. State*,

FRIDAY at Miss. State*,

SATURDAY at Miss. State*,

  • SEC game

The Crimson Tide went on to score two more runs and score a 7-4 victory to complete a three-game sweep before an announced crowd of 3,233 at Baum Stadium.

Arkansas (26-25, 7-20 SEC) lost its ninth game in a row, its longest losing streak since 1965.

"It's hard to get worse than this," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. "If it can go wrong, it will."

Alabama (30-21, 15-12) entered the series with its NCAA regional hopes in question, but the Crimson Tide left with their first sweep at Baum since 2000.

Alabama, which was last in the SEC with 18 home runs entering the weekend, got its seventh of the series from Salem in the first inning.

"We've been really struggling on the offensive end," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We came to life a little bit this weekend. We were able to leave the yard, and so right now we've got to build on some momentum."

Arkansas trailed 3-2 in the eighth before Rick Nomura hit a two-run home run over the left-field wall against closer Thomas Burrows (2-0) on a first-pitch fastball.

"I just had a feeling he was going to come in and I was looking for a fastball, one pitch only, and he gave me it and I just did what I could with it," Nomura said.

Teague (3-4) retired the first batter in the ninth before the Crimson Tide got busy. Gene Wood and No. 9 batter Daniel Cucjen had back-to-back singles before Hunter Webb popped up to third base.

Teague walked Cobie Vance to load the bases and bring up the left-handed hitting Salem.

Arkansas left-hander Jordan Rodriguez was ready in the bullpen, but the Hogs stuck with Teague, a right-hander, who got ahead of Salem 1-2.

"He [Rodriguez] was ready to go and the decision was made to go with the guy who was already in there," Van Horn said. "Obviously hindsight is 20-20. But Teague had him right where he wanted. He had him 1-2.

"He had thrown two fastballs that were away ... and called a fastball in. We were going to bust him, freeze him, jam him, and the pitch was right down the middle and he just smoked it right through the middle."

Salem said he expected to face Rodriguez.

"I was ready for him," said Salem, who went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI. "I thought they were [going with Rodriguez], I really did. I was surprised they stuck with the righty, but it ended up working out in our favor and I'm glad they did."

Clark Eagan and Carson Shaddy reached base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on a hit by pitch and error, but Burrows retired Luke Bonfield on a long fly ball to center field to end the game.

Salem homered with two outs in the first inning, his third of the year, to give the Tide a 1-0 lead against Blaine Knight. The Crimson Tide hit a first-inning home run in all three games of the series.

"I was on the right spots, it's just the pitches were up," Knight said. "The one the guy hit out, I missed a spot. Instead of the outer half, it was middle or inner third and he put a good swing on it."

Arkansas slipped ahead in the second inning with the help of a touch of wildness from Alabama starter Nick Eicholtz. Cullen Gassaway drew a walk to open the inning and Nomura followed suit with one out.

Freshman catcher Grant Koch followed with a double down the left-field line to drive in Gassaway. Nomura raced around to make it 2-1 when the ball ricocheted away from left fielder Keith Holcombe.

Alabama tied the score 2-2 in the third. Cucjen drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on Keith Holcombe's single. Salem delivered a two-out RBI double to tie the game.

Zach Jackson relieved in the fifth inning for Arkansas and held Alabama off the board until the eighth. Jackson walked Vance with one out, gave up a two-out single to Chandler Taylor, then threw two wild pitches to give Alabama a 3-2 lead.

The Razorbacks wrap up their home season on Tuesday with a 6:35 p.m. game against Missouri State.

Arkansas has three conference games remaining this week at Mississippi State (17-9), and will need to win at least one game to have any chance of qualifying for the SEC postseason tournament, which takes the top 12 teams.

Georgia (10-20) leads the pack of five fighting for the final tournament berths, and ends its season with three games against Tennessee (7-20).

Missouri (8-19) and Auburn (8-19) are currently tied for the final spots.

Missouri, which plays three games at Kentucky, owns the tiebreaker over Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee, having won the season series with each.

Arkansas would have the tiebreaker over Auburn, which it swept earlier this season.

Auburn's final three games are at Vanderbilt (15-11).

Sports on 05/16/2016


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