GAINESVILLE, FLA. -- Arkansas broke out the bats. Finally.
After an offensive slump sent the Razorbacks into a bad spiral for seven losses in eight games, the bats came alive and Florida pitching contributed with walks and wild pitches to end the misery. The Hogs salvaged the final game of the opening SEC baseball series, 9-3, on Sunday.
Arkansas (9-7, 1-2) jumped to a 4-0 lead, a big start since the Hogs are 9-0 when scoring first this season. Florida cut it to 6-3 in the fourth before Jacob Stone and Michael Gunn each threw three shutout innings to preserve the victory.
"I'm happy with our performance today," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "We scored early and built on it but then they made a run at us. The guys that came out of the bullpen did a nice job, and we just kept chipping away. It was big getting those three runs in the ninth to give us some cushion."
Florida (13-7, 2-1) saw its seven-game winning streak snapped. The Hogs had lost four straight, all by one run. The Gators took the first two games in the series by 2-1 and 1-0 scores.
"This was a huge win for us," Van Horn said. "Nobody in the SEC West won three games this weekend, so we are only one game down. We are within striking distance.
"This is a nine-week grind in SEC play and some tough games in between. I told them to enjoy this until we get off the plane in Fayetteville, and then we need to start thinking about Grambling on Tuesday.
"The team showed a lot of toughness to bounce back after a tough loss last night. I knew we were going to play well today. I didn't know if we were going to win but I could tell we were going to play well."
Jake Wise, who went five of 10 on the weekend, homered and doubled to pace the offense. The Hogs were outhit, 9-7, but left only five men on base. Brian Anderson supplied three RBI. Andrew Benintendi and Tyler Spoon each scored three runs.
Stone (3-0) came on in the fourth in relief of Dominic Taccolini, in for starter Chris Oliver. Gunn got his second save of the season. He gave up a double in the ninth, but pitched ahead in the count to subdue the Gators down the stretch.
Benintendi reached on an error to lead off the game, moving to second on the play. He moved up on two outfield outs, scoring on Anderson's sacrfice flies.
Wise led off the second with a homer down the line in left field. Michael Bernal and Spoon both walked and Anderson plated both with a liner to the wall in left center.
In the fourth, Benintendi and Spoon both walked, moved up on Anderson's sacrifice bunt. Benintendi scored on a wild pitch. Spoon scored on Blake Baxendale's squeeze bunt.
In the ninth, the Hogs gave Gunn some breathing room. Benintendi and Spoon singled and Anderson reached on a hit by pitch. Eric Fisher singled to center to score Benintendi, then Spoon and Anderson both scored on wild pitches.
The Hogs return to Baum after seven straight on the road. They play host to Grambling State in two midweek games, the first at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Alabama comes to town Friday for an SEC series.
Arkansas 9, Florida 3
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