Arkansas crept one inning closer with the starting pitching, but No. 2 Florida still came up with the big inning in an 8-2 victory Saturday at Baum Stadium.
It was the eighth straight SEC loss for the Razorbacks. They have not led at any point in that streak. Florida swept the Hogs, winning 12-8 on Thursday and 9-2 on Saturday.
Zach Jackson no-hit the Gators for five innings, but lost command in the sixth as the Gators plated five runs to break up the scoreless game. It unraveled on the Hogs when home plate umpire appeared to flinch on a close 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded for a bases loaded walk.
The Hogs (21-15, 4-11) led in hits, 9-7, but did not score after loading the bases with no outs in the second. They also stranded two in the third against Florida starter Alex Faedo. Arkansas pitching walked nine batters and hit three. Florida pitching issued just two walks. Faedo struck out 10. Florida (33-5, 11-4) got great starting pitching in all three games on the weekend.
"The walks are what came back to get us," said Dave Van Horn, Arkansas coach. "It's a fine line. We had the bases loaded with no outs and didn't get anything. We stranded five in two innings. It's about timely hitting and we didn't get any. They did."
The big blow in the game was Peter Alonso's slicing opposite field three-run homer to end the scoring in the sixth. It ended another big inning for the Gators, much like the first two games of the series.
"It was like we played the same game," Van Horn said. "It was the fourth, then the fifth and then the sixth (inning). Our players were into it. They are playing hard."
Jackson got one out in the sixth before leaving after 104 pitches. He allowed four runs on one hit with four walks and one hit batsman.
"I was happy to see Zach pitch so well," Van Horn said. "The walks are what came back to get us."
Van Horn was clearly upset during the game at home plate umpire Ryan Morehead. He was also just as clear afterwards that the strike zone was tough on both sides.
"We can see height of pitches," he said. "If he calls it low, we can see that it's not. Our beef was with the 3-2 pitch (in the sixth). Tht would have been the second out of the inning when they scored six.
"There were a lot of pitches real close and it wasn't just us."
There was a play in the eighth inning that was missed by the infield crew of Tony Walsh and Jack Cox. A bases loaded grounder struck Buddy Reed running between second and third and Michael Bernal could not make a play.
"The second base umpire (Walsh) made the call, but it's probably the third base ump's call," Van Horn said. "It looked like it hit him. But that didn't cost us the game. The sixth inning cost us."
Bernal led the Hogs with three hits and one walk. He scored both of the their runs. Tucker Pennell doubled him home in the seventh. Jake Arledge doubled him home in the ninth.
Van Horn said the Hogs have not given up despite struggling in SEC play and with no easy games in sight. They play host to Creighton on Tuesday night.
"We'll hold it together," Van Horn said. "That's win or lose. We know what we are up against. We will just try to win a game one at a time.
"You may see me play younger guys, some young guys who are swinging it pretty good and deserve it. It's about the process.
"We'll be positive and point out the things we are doing well. We have a bunch of young guys trying to grow up against some of the best teams in the country."