Bama Drops Series

The magic that helped the Alabama baseball team lead the Southeastern Conference Western Division since day one of the conference season might not have run out, but it was nowhere to be found in Sewell-Thomas Stadium Sunday as Arkansas (37-15 overall, 13-14 SEC) handed the Tide (35-18 overall, 15-12 SEC) its first home series loss of the season with a 3-2 win on Sunday.

After plating its first run on Charley Boyce's second pitch of the game, Alabama managed to score only a solo homer in Boyce's remaining 102 pitches. Arkansas got a complete game five-hit performance from Boyce, who picked up his second win of the weekend.

Boyce threw 52 pitches in two and two thirds innings Friday night and was the beneficiary of an Arkansas ninth-inning rally. His efficiency enabled him to go the distance on Sunday. Boyce threw 104 pitches and issued just one walk in the game.

"We just relied on Charlie and he pulled it through for us," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. "This is recycle Sunday, that's what we call it."

Alabama managed just 17 during the three-game series, and Bama's one-two punch of Gabe Scott and Evan Bush was 3-for-20 in the series.

"We're just not swinging the bats well right now," Alabama Head Coach Jim Wells said. "As we told the kids, we're living by the home run and dying by the home run. We're to pull-oriented. We have to do a better job of hitting the pitch where it is thrown."

"I look up sometimes and see eight guys playing third base."

Arkansas scored the decisive run in the seventh inning on a two-out wild pitch by David Robertson, who came on in relief of Brent Carter after Carter allowed two one-out singles by John Henry Marquardt and Craig Gentry and a walk of Jake Dugger to load the bases.

Robertson's 1-1 pitch sailed over the head of catcher Kody Valverde allowing Arkansas pinch-runner Stephen Robison to score from third making it a 3-2 game.

Alabama was losing 2-1 in the fourth inning when Evan Bush came up with his only hit in the series, a lead-off solo home run that tied the game 2-2.

Zac Welch singled and Kody Valverde was hit by a pitch with one out later in the same inning, but were stranded on base. Boyce retired 12 Tide hitters in a row after plunking Valverde in the fourth.

T.J. Large started the game for Alabama and ran into trouble in the third inning by walking Arkansas' eighth-place hitter and hitting the nine-hole hitter. Craig Gentry sacrificed the runners to second and third base before Dugger doubled over the head of a shallow-playing Emeel Salem in center field to drive in two runs and put the Hogs up 2-1.

It looked like Alabama might rough Boyce up early after Salem led off with a first-pitch double in the right-center field gap and scored when Ben Tschepikow tossed a grounder off the bat of Allen Rice into the Bama dugout in the first inning, but Boyce retired the heart of Alabama's lineup without incident in the next three at-bats.

"You have to give Boyce credit. He was outstanding," Wells said. "He pitched will and threw all of his pitches for strikes."

As a team, Alabama was 17-for-92 (.185 AVG) on the weekend against Arkansas and 9-for-45 (.200) against Boyce .

"All these games were winnable games. We're in an offensive lull right now," Wells said. "We have to get some minds right and some swings better and get an offense that hits to all fields."

Alabama fell out of first place in the West for the first time all year, as LSU clobbered Tennessee with a 14-4 win in Baton Rouge, taking two-of-three from the Vols.

Alabama travels to Auburn to wrap up the regular season with a three-game set that starts Friday.

Alabama vs. Arkansas Box Score


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