Tide crush Hogs, clinch series

Arkansas gave up three home runs en route to a 10-4 loss to Alabama on Saturday.

 — Will Haynie's two home runs provided all the offense Alabama needed in a 10-4 win over Arkansas on Saturday.

It is the Razorbacks' eighth straight loss, matching their longest streak since 2000. A loss Sunday would give them their longest losing streak since losing 12 straight in 1965.

"Playing sports, no one likes to lose," Arkansas catcher Tucker Pennell said. "We're not going out there trying to lose or giving up. It's just not happening for us right now."

The Crimson Tide's first three batters of the game drew walks before Arkansas starter Keaton McKinney struck out Chandler Taylor. On the next pitch, Haynie launched a grand slam to left to give Alabama a 4-0 lead.

"He gives up a home run on a first-pitch fastball (and) it's elevated," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "It's really difficult to understand why. To get off to that type of start at home in a relaxed atmosphere, not being able to throw strikes, it's hard to explain."

McKinney (1-5) retired the next nine hitters, but ran into trouble again in the fourth. A two-out, two-run double by Daniel Cucjen followed by a Keith Holcombe walk ended his night.

As a freshman, he fired a two-hit shutout at Alabama, but it was a different story this year. In 3 2/3 innings, the right-hander allowed six earned runs, which tied a career high, on three hits and five walks while striking out three. The outing inflated his ERA to 6.66 on the season.

"He doesn't throw strikes, bottom line," Van Horn said. "He's behind hitters all the time and he just doesn't throw strikes. There are some mechanical issues there, probably a little bit mental frustration, but his strong point was being able to locate his fastball and then work changeups and be ahead all the time. This year, it hasn't happened."

Alabama (29-21, 14-12 SEC) added three runs in the seventh, including a two-run home run by Chandler Taylor, and Haynie hit a solo home run with two outs in the ninth.

It was Haynie's third home run of the series and Taylor's second. Alabama has six homers in two games against Arkansas after hitting only 18 in its first 48 games this season.

"They have some big kids, but the pitches they've hit out of the park have all been elevated," Van Horn said. "The last home run Haynie hit, that pitch actually was down a little bit, about knee high. He went down and got it, so give him credit there."

The Razorbacks (26-24, 7-19) loaded the bases twice - with one out in the third and no outs in the seventh - but managed only two total runs off Alabama starter Jake Walters.

"Walters is a pretty good one," Van Horn said. "He got runners in scoring position and did a nice job. That's probably why his ERA is under two because he knows how to get out of jams."

Clark Eagan's RBI single got Arkansas on the board in the third, but after Luke Bonfield walked to load the bases, Rick Nomura chopped a pitch straight into the ground that stopped in front the plate. Alabama's catcher fielded it, stepped on home and fired to first for an inning-ending double play.

After the first three Razorbacks reached base in the seventh, Eagan's RBI fielder's choice was the only offense Arkansas could muster.

"We got the starter on the ropes," Eagan said. "If we punch in a few there, maybe we get in that bullpen a little early. Not being able to capitalize on those situations, that can really determine the game. Who knows what would have happened if we score a few there. It's tough."

Walters (5-3) scattered eight hits and three walks across seven innings while striking out nine.

Eagan - who had all four of Arkansas' RBIs - hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning to cap the scoring.

The Razorbacks will try to avoid their fifth sweep in SEC play Sunday at 1 p.m. Freshman right-hander Blaine Knight (2-1, 2.95 ERA) will pitch for Arkansas, while junior right-hander Nick Eicholtz (3-3, 2.33 ERA) will be on the mound for Alabama.


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