Coming off two of the worst starts in his career, Trey Killian regained his rhythm Thursday night in Hoover, Ala.
The junior right-hander tied a career-high with nine strikeouts and gave up just one earned run, leading No. 23 Arkansas to a 5-1 series-opening win over Alabama.
Killian (2-3) gave up seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, but was able to work out of several jams. The Crimson Tide stranded five runners while he was on the mound and five more during Zach Jackson's 2 2/3-inning save.
The performance comes after back-to-back starts in which he allowed 20 hits and 15 earned runs in 10 innings combined.
It was a pitcher's duel until the sixth, when the Razorbacks tacked Alabama starter Taylor Guilbeau (2-5) for a couple of runs.
Joe Serrano and Andrew Benintendi led off the inning with a single and double, respectively, putting runners on second and third. They were plated thanks to an RBI groundout by Tyler Spoon and a wild pitch on Luke Bonfield's swinging third strike.
Alabama got a run back in the bottom half of the inning, when Kyle Overstreet's one-out double scored Mikey White.
The Razorbacks quickly regained momentum, though. Brett McAfee led off the seventh with a double and Michael Bernal followed with a two-run home run. Chad Spanberger's sacrifice fly in the ninth added an insurance run, but it wasn't necessary.
After getting Alabama to strand runners on the corners in the eighth, Jackson set the Crimson Tide down in order to finish the save, his fifth of the season.
Arkansas and Alabama will play Friday at 6 p.m. Another win by the Razorbacks would give them their sixth consecutive SEC series win.
Arkansas 5, Alabama 1
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