At a quarter after one, Bobby Wernes extended Wednesday night’s game that had already morphed into Thursday morning.
Wernes’ two-run home run in the top of the ninth helped No. 20 Arkansas upset No. 6 Florida 7-6 at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.
With the Razorbacks trailing 6-5 and down to their final two outs, Wernes fouled off eight pitches – including six with two strikes – before sending the 11th pitch of the at bat over the left field fence.
The homer capped a three-run ninth inning for Arkansas, as Andrew Benintendi hit a solo home run off the scoreboard to leadoff the inning.
Zach Jackson closed out the game by striking out Jeremy Vasquez, which stranded the game-tying run on third.
Vasquez’s strikeout ended the nearly four-hour marathon that lasted until 1:33 a.m. The game started late because of a weather delay in the game before it.
When the game finally started, the Razorbacks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second thanks to a bases-loaded walk, hit by pitch and sacrifice fly.
It was a short-lived lead, as Arkansas starting pitcher Keaton McKinney issued three straight full-count walks in the bottom half of the inning.
McKinney was replaced by Dominic Taccolini, who gave up a first-pitch single to J.J. Schwarz that scored two runs. An error by Bobby Wernes allowed another run to score.
The Gators threatened to take the lead in the fourth, loading the bases with one out. Buddy Reed flew out to left and Schwarz – who doubled to lead off the inning – tried to score from third.
However, Serrano threw a strike to Alex Gosser, who tagged out Schwarz at home to keep the score tied.
The play just delayed Florida’s lead by an inning. Harrison Bader’s RBI ground out broke the tie and back-to-back RBI doubles by Schwarz and Mike Rivera gave the Gators a 6-3 lead in the fifth.
Arkansas had a chance to do some damage in the sixth, but Tyler Spoon flew out to right to strand the bases loaded.
A day removed from leaving 15 runners on base, Arkansas stranded 10 Wednesday. Much like Benintendi on Tuesday, Spoon struggled at the plate, striking out his first three at bats and finishing 0-for-5.
The Razorbacks finally got a run back in the seventh thanks to Brett McAfee’s RBI single. The hit scored Rick Nomura, who led off the inning with a triple.
Benintendi’s ninth-inning leadoff home run snapped an 0-for-7 start in Hoover, while Wernes’ home run capped a 2-for-4 day.
Nomura was the only other Arkansas player with multiple hits, as he went 3-for-4 with three runs scored.
The Razorbacks will play No. 1 LSU Thursday night in the winner’s bracket. First pitch is scheduled be 30 minutes after the Vanderbilt-Texas A&M game that starts at 4:30 p.m.
Arkansas 7, Florida 6
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