TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama (28-25, 11-17 SEC) scored six in the fifth to overcome an early multi-run deficit and roll past No. 7 Arkansas (38-15, 18-11 SEC), 8-6, on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Arkansas and No. 6 Texas A&M (34-17, 18-11 SEC) will head into Saturday, the final day of the regular season, tied atop the SEC Western Division standings after the Aggies lost at Ole Miss, 14-6, on Friday night. With a win tomorrow, the Hogs can clinch their fourth consecutive division title, previously winning the SEC West in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
The Razorbacks opened an early advantage with help from Jalen Battles, Brady Slavens, Michael Turner and Chris Lanzilli. Each collected an RBI over the first five innings of Friday night’s ballgame as Arkansas led, 4-1, entering the bottom half of the fifth.
Arkansas starter Connor Noland spun three scoreless frames to begin his outing before allowing a run in the fourth and then facing disaster in the fifth. Alabama put up a crooked number in the inning, tagging Noland for four runs before getting to reliever Zack Morris for two more.
The Crimson Tide added to its 7-4 lead in the very next inning as right-hander Zebulon Vermillion allowed a home run to begin the sixth. Alabama totaled eight runs across the game’s middle innings, putting Arkansas in a four-run hole with nine outs to go.
Lanzilli’s productive effort was not finished, however, as he doubled home a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to cut Arkansas’ deficit to 8-6. The Razorback right fielder powered the offense with three hits, including two doubles, and three runs batted in on the night.
Kole Ramage, pitching for the second consecutive day, threw a scoreless eighth and ninth inning with four strikeouts to give Arkansas the opportunity to edge even closer. The Hogs threatened by putting two runners on and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the top of the ninth, but the Crimson Tide prevailed and pulled out an 8-6 win.
Saturday’s rubber game between Arkansas and Alabama gets underway at 1 p.m. on SEC Network+. Right-hander Jaxon Wiggins will start on the mound in the Razorbacks’ regular-season finale.
Cross-posted from Arkansas Razorbacks Communications