Arkansas 10, Florida 7

HOOVER, Ala. — Arkansas has found the perfect remedy for curing its late-season Southeastern Conference woes.

Just play Florida.

The Razorbacks grabbed their second win in three days against the Gators on Friday afternoon, eliminating the SEC Eastern Division champions with a 10-7 victory in Hoover's Regions Park. It also ran Arkansas' record against Florida (39-20) to 5-0, pushing the Razorbacks into an SEC Tournament semifinal game against Vanderbilt at 10 a.m.

If the Razorbacks beat the Commodores (33-24), who earned a day off after winning Wednesday and Thursday, the teams meet again at 5 for a berth in Sunday's title game.

"I don't know what it is," Arkansas freshman Bo Bigham said of Arkansas' success against the Gators. "You get a winning streak you don't ever want to lose it. So we've come out with some enthusiasm and just got the job done."

Arkansas (34-21) accomplished that Friday afternoon in remarkably similar fashion to Wednesday's 8-5 win.

The Razorbacks used a five-run fourth inning to seize control of the game, capitalized on Florida's errors to score three unearned runs and got solid pitching out of the pen.

The biggest difference Friday? Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn relied on an even younger lineup to lead the way.

With seniors Ben Tschepikow (dislocated finger) and Scott Lyons (sore shoulder) watching from the dugout, seven freshmen were asked to help the Hogs fight off elimination.

"I thought some guys had a double take at the lineup (Friday) when I posted it and they saw those young kids in there," Van Horn said. "But they've grown up over the season. We thought we could win with them."

Freshman third baseman Zack Cox led the way by going 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs and one run scored. That included a two-run home run in the fourth, which helped the Razorbacks erase a 3-2 deficit and put together a much-needed big inning.

Cox's ninth home run, which came off reliever Greg Larson (3-2), broke a light in the outfield scoreboard.

"Earlier in the season I came up in some situations and had a positive count and not gotten the barrel out there like I should have," Cox said. "That count, I had a 3-1 pitch and I said it ain't going to happen this time."

Arkansas tacked on three more runs thanks to an RBI double by Chase Leavitt and an error by Florida shortstop Mike Mooney, who sailed an errant throw that would've been an inning-ending double play. James McCann and Leavitt scored on the mistake to push Arkansas to a 7-3 lead.

The Razorbacks got another run in the eighth, but had to survive a nail-biting seventh. The Gators scored four runs thanks to a two-run throwing error by shortstop Tim Carver and a two-run home run by Florida's Jonathan Pigott.

But once again, Arkansas answered in the bottom of the inning with two runs to regain its cushion. Cox picked up his third RBI with a single to make it 9-7. Carver pushed one more across the plate with a well-executed sacrifice bunt.

"The bottom line is the game came down to we didn't stop them after we scored," Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "We could never quite gain the momentum. It seemed as soon as we got the momentum we lost it."

Florida, which was the SEC's No. 2 seed in the tournament, didn't help itself. In two games against the Hogs, the Gators allowed 18 runs, 10 unearned, and committed six errors.

And Arkansas' production Friday was enough for pitchers Drew Smyly, Sam Murphy (3-1) and Cox. Murphy's blemish was Pigott's home run, but he allowed little else in his 3 1/3 innings in relief of Smyly (3 2/3 innings pitched).

Cox moved from third to the mound to retire the final six batters, earning his first save and helping Arkansas advance.

"Winning makes everything better," Van Horn said. "It's a lot easier to sleep. It's a lot easier to look people in the eye.

"It's good. Especially this time of year."

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