Hogs Win 4-3 in 11 Innings

FAYETTEVILLE — It was the best of at-bats and the worst of at-bats for Arkansas during Friday's 4-3 win in 11 innings against Alabama in front of 7,705 in Baum Stadium.

With two outs, the infield in and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th, Logan Forsythe lined a 2-2 fastball up the middle to score the winning run.

It ended a game in which the No. 14 Razorbacks struck out 13 times, but walked 15 times, an Alabama school record. Combined, the teams worked 23 walks during the four-hour plus marathon.

Arkansas (32-15, 12-10 in Southeastern Conference play) and No. 6 Alabama (34-14, 15-7) hook up for Game 2 of the series at 4:05 p.m. today.

The unsung hero of the game was Arkansas stopper Devin Collis (7-2). He retired the side in order in the 10th and 11th to give the Hogs a charge and the offense finally responded with James Ewing's one-out single off Tide reliever Jake McCarter's glove in the 11th.

Ewing advanced to second on a wild pitch before Danny Hamblin was intentionally walked and Stephen Robison worked a walk to load the bases for Dugger, who was called out looking at an inside breaking ball and promptly ejected after arguing with home plate umpire Rick Darby.

But Forsythe's hit healed emotions as the Razorbacks stormed the field and wrapped up Ewing after he crossed home plate.

After Chris Hollensworth and Dugger reached on back-to-back walks to start the bottom of the 10th, Forsythe, who came into the game hitting .161, popped out on a bunt attempt into foul territory with a 3-1 count.

That brought up Brian Walker, who was responsible for both of Arkansas' hits and RBIs to that point. But Walker hit a hard grounder that first baseman Spencer Pennington knocked down and threw to second base for the inning's second out.

Matt Willard then reached on a walk to load the bases for leadoff hitter Craig Gentry, who grounded out to second to send the game to the 11th inning.

Neither offense could muster much in the ninth despite both teams putting two runners on with two outs.

Alabama's Kody Valverde doubled down the left field line and Evan Bush worked a full-count walk before Hogs reliever Brian McLelland got a groundout to end the inning. Arkansas' Clint Arnold and Matt Willard both worked two-out walks, but were left stranded when Hamblin popped up to short right field to send the game to extra innings.

Walker led off the bottom of the seventh with a solo homer, his third, over the right field wall to trim Alabama's lead to 3-2. It was only the second hit of the game off Tide starter Wade LeBlanc, a left-hander who used his sharp breaking ball to strike out nine Razorbacks.

A full-count, 11-pitch walk to Willard ended LeBlanc's day after 126 pitches. That brought on Alabama stopper David Robertson, who allowed Craig Gentry to reach first on a fielder's choice. Gentry stole second and advanced to third when Valverde, the Tide's catcher, had his throw end up in center field.

Robertson's third pitch to the next batter, Arnold, was a breaking ball in the dirt that bounced off Valverde's chest protector and down the third base line. Valverde scooped up the ball and tried to tag Gentry as he raced by, but missed by a few inches allowing Gentry to slide into home safely to tie the score at 3-all.

Alabama took a 3-1 advantage in the seventh when Bush hit a two-out double over Dugger's head in left before scoring on a single to right center by Ryan Rhoden.

Razorbacks starter Nick Schmidt got the final batter of the seventh to pop out to right to end his outing after throwing 128 pitches. Schmidt allowed three earned runs on six hits while striking out seven and walking five.

Schmidt dodged a bullet in the fourth inning. Alabama scored only one run to take a 2-1 lead after loading the bases with no outs. The first out scored the run on a fielder's choice and the second came when Emeel Salem lined out to second. That brought up power hitter Matt Downs, who came a few feet shy of hitting a grand slam when he flew out to the warning track in left to end the threat.

Arkansas did a nice job of getting LeBlanc's pitch count up with early walks and strikeouts. A 10-pitch, full-count walk by Gentry pushed LeBlanc's total past 50 in the second inning.

Earlier in the second, Dugger worked a leadoff walk and later scored when Walker sliced his career-high ninth double over left fielder Brandon Belcher's head to give the Razorbacks a 1-0 lead.

Alabama answered in the top of the third when Downs lined a single up the middle to score Belcher, who led off with an infield single, to even the score at 1-all.

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