The box score won't show a save in Arkansas' 4-3 victory over Alabama. But the save didn't come at the end of the 12-inning game Friday night at Baum Stadium. It was in the first 10 minutes of the four-hour, 16-minute affair.
Matt Vinson got the save with a web gem. He climbed the wall in front of the Arkansas bullpen to take a two-run homer away from Josh Rosecrans to end the first inning. It was a play Vinson said the Hogs practiced just yesterday.
"We went out to there and practiced robbing home runs," Vinson said. "Coach (Todd) Butler had us on that same wall. I didn't see it and just reached. I didn't know I caught it."
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn called it an "unbelievable" catch.
"You knew that was going to come into play the whole game," Van Horn said. "When I saw it leave the bat, I thought, in my mind it's 2-0."
The box score didn't show Vinson's catch, but it did show Arkansas with 12 walks against six Alabama pitchers. There were three straight after a two-out single by Matt Reynolds in the 12th for the victory. Jake Wise, who scored earlier in the game when he ran through the catcher, and Vinson had the last two walks, both on 3-2 counts.
"Wise fouled off the first 3-2 pitch," Van Horn said. "That one was in the zone and he fouled it off. The next one he saw it was a ball right out of his hand and let it go."
Vinson, batting just .140 on the year, had three of the 12 walks.
"The biggest thing we did tonight was just keep battling," Vinson said. "This team is going to do that."
Arkansas did a little better job of throwing strikes. Starter DJ Baxendale allowed two walks. Colby Suggs, Ty Wright and Barrett Astin each allowed one walk to run the total to five for the game.
Astin came in with the two runners on in the ninth and gave up a first pitch double to give Alabama the lead run. But the Hogs got it back in the bottom of the ninth when Jacob Morris lined an RBI double to left.
Astin (2-0) was tough the rest of the way to get the victory. Van Horn said he was at his limit after 42 pitches.
"He was done," Van Horn said. "We were going to Brandon Moore next."
Astin has been pitching twice on the weekend, but he's probably done for this series.
"It's a hard to lose a game like this," Van Horn said. "We kept talking about that in the dugout. We just kept battling. We didn't want to burn Astin for the weekend, but we were going to do what we needed to win this one."
They didn't want to waste that save to start the game.
State of the Hogs: Early Save
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