No. 13 Arkansas Beats Georgia 8-3
April 7, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK.-----The 13th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks posted an 8-3 win over Georgia Saturday to even an SEC series at Baum Stadium.
Georgia freshman Hunter Cole led off the second with a single to extend his hitting streak to a team-best 14 games this season. With one out, senior Jonathan Hester lined a single to right field that was misplayed by Jimmy Bosco, allowing Cole to advance to third and Hester to make it to second. Junior Kevin Ruiz gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly.
Arkansas (23-7, 6-5 SEC) erupted for five runs on four hits in the third off senior right-hander Michael Palazzone. The big inning was capped by a grand slam by Bosco. It was his third home run of the season and gave the Razorbacks a 5-1 advantage. Sophomore right-hander Barrett Astin, normally the closer, wound up pitching 4.2 innings before giving way to Brandon Moore after Georgia scored another unearned run in the fifth to cut the deficit to 5-2. The Bulldogs went to their bullpen in the bottom of the fifth bringing in senior Chase Hawkins. Palazzone allowed five runs on six hits to fall to 0-4. Moore notched the win to improve to 3-0, going 3.1 innings and giving up just one run on four hits.
Georgia (19-12, 5-6 SEC) missed out on a chance to rally in the sixth. Following two-out singles by Hester and Ruiz, Stephens lined one to second that was initially ruled a trap to load the bases. Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn came out to dispute the call. Then, the umpiring crew huddled up and decided it was a catch after all, drawing the ire of Bulldog head coach David Perno who came out of the dugout for an explanation. Arkansas extended its lead to 7-2 in the sixth on a two-out, two-run double by Tim Carver. Centerfielder Conor Welton ran down Carver's drive and nearly made a spectacular diving catch, but it popped out of his glove when he hit the ground. Following a walk to Mahan, the game was delayed 72-minutes due to severe weather. Jay Swinford came on for Hawkins and put an end to the Razorback sixth. Arkansas added another two-out run in the seventh.
Georgia loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth and then Moore got Hester to bounce into a double play and retired pinch-hitter Nelson Ward to surrender just one run.
"We couldn't overcome a couple of things, they hit a grand slam with the bases loaded and we load the bases and hit in to a double play," said Perno. "We just missed making a great catch and couldn't avoid a big inning to keep it close. Arkansas has really good pitching so it's tough to overcome a big inning. We have to chance to win the series Sunday so hopefully we'll come out and play well. We'll see how Pete (Nagel) is feeling, we sent him back to the hotel earlier today. He scheduled to start Sunday and we'll see how he is doing in the morning. We've got a lot of fresh arms left."
The rubber game of the series on Sunday will be at 1:05 p.m. ET and be televised regionally by Cox Sports.