NASHVILLE, TN– No. 12 Vanderbilt (36-17, 18-11 SEC) scored eight in the bottom half of the eighth to overcome a six-run deficit and defeat No. 2 Arkansas (39-13, 20-8 SEC), 10-8, on Friday night at Hawkins Field.
The loss prevented the Razorbacks from clinching an SEC championship after Florida lost at Kentucky. Arkansas, which will enter the final day of the regular season with a half-game lead over LSU and a one-game lead over Florida in the SEC standings, can secure the title with a win in tomorrow’s series finale at Vanderbilt or with losses by both Florida and LSU.
For the second game in a row, the Hogs came out swinging and put up a crooked number in the top half of the first inning. Jace Bohrofen’s 14th homer of the season as well as a pair of RBI base knocks from Caleb Cali and Brady Slavens gave Arkansas a three-run lead before Vanderbilt had its first opportunity to come to bat.
The Commodores struck for two runs in the bottom of the third, hitting consecutive two-out home runs off Razorback starter Brady Tygart. It would be the only damage allowed by the right-hander, who struck out a season-high seven over a season-long four innings on 62 pitches in his fourth start on the mound since returning from an injury scare.
Arkansas extended its lead to 4-2 in the fourth on Peyton Holt’s one-out double down the line in left. The Greenwood, Ark., native came up clutch again in the sixth, jacking a three-run home run to left to put the Hogs ahead, 7-2.
John Bolton’s two-out RBI in the eighth grew the Razorbacks’ lead to six. On the mound, Zack Morris spun three no-hit innings with a season-high six strikeouts on 42 pitches in relief of Tygart, departing the game with the Hogs ahead, 8-2.
The Arkansas bullpen behind him, however, would not be as effective. Vanderbilt scored eight runs in the bottom of the eighth, taking the lead on a three-run home run by designated hitter Troy LaNeve.
In the top of the ninth, Kendall Diggs was robbed at the wall of an extra-base hit by Commodore centerfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. Caleb Cali recorded a two-out single, his third hit of the ballgame, but would be left stranded at third.
Cali and Slavens each had three hits to lead the Hogs offensively, while Holt racked up two base knocks, including his fourth double of the season, to go along with a team-best four RBI in Friday night’s setback in Nashville.
Left-hander Hunter Hollan will get the start on the mound tomorrow as Arkansas will once again look to clinch both a series win and their fourth SEC championship in school history. First pitch is 2 p.m. Saturday, May 20, on SEC Network+.
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Note to Our Readers: The previous story was sourced directly and in its entirety from the University of Arkansas Office of Communications, Oliver Grigg.