NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Senior righthander T. J. Forrest shut down Vanderbilt on two hits through six innings as Arkansas built a 7-0 lead, then the Hogs held on for a 7-5 SEC baseball victory Sunday.
Monk Kreder drove in a career-high four runs on a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly to lead the Arkansas offense. Andy Wilkins had two hits and a pair of walks, scoring three times. Bo Bigham added a home run.
Arkansas closed the regular season with two straight victories at Vandy to finish second in the SEC West with an 18-12 mark. The Hogs are 40-16 overall, including 13-8 on the road. They enter the SEC tournament as the No. 4 overall seed and will face No. 5 Vandy at approximately 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the final game of the first day. Vanderbilt heads into postseason play at 40-15 overall, 16-12 in SEC play.
"We played hard all weekend," head coach Dave Van Horn said. "It's like I told them, we knew seven runs would be a good lead but it may not be enough because (Vanderbilt) has a very good bullpen and they can hit without striking out much. We knew they'd make a run at us and they did. We helped them with the walks but we held on."
Forrest (8-0) kept the Commodores off balance with an assortment of off speed pitches and moving fast balls in his best outing as a Razorback. He allowed only two hits and got out of trouble in that inning with a double play. It was his longest outing of the season. He had gone 4 1/3 innings in early May against Ole Miss.
Forrest left after six innings and the Hogs struggled in the seventh and eighth to close it out. Geoffrey Davenport and Jordan Pratt gave up three in the seventh. Pratt allowed single runs in the eighth and ninth. He gave up a homer in the ninth then pitched around a tough-luck double when Collin Kuhn lost a fly ball in the sun in right field.
The Hogs scored two in the second when they sent eight men to the plate. Andy Wilkins singled, moved up on a passed ball then scored on a single by Travis Sample. Tom Hauskey added a single, then Kreder plated Sample with a single.
Bigham led off the third with a home run to right center. Wilkins and Sample both walked and advanced on Hauskey's ground out. Both scored on Kreder's single to left.
The Hogs made it 7-0 in the fifth. Brett Eibner singled and Wilkins walked. Sample's bunt was thrown away at second with Eibner scoring and Wilkins moving to third. Wilkins scored when Kreder lofted a sacrifice fly to center.
In the seventh, Aaron Westlake greeted Davenport with a long homer to straightaway center. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases and brought in Pratt. He walked in two runs before Bigham and Carver turned a double play to end the inning.
A walk and a single set up a Joe Loftus RBI single in the eighth. Pratt struckout Byran Johns with the bases loaded to end the eighth.
Pratt had to face the tying run in the ninth after Anthony Gomez homered and Jason Esposito's routine fly ball fell at Kuhn's side. Westlake struck out and Curt Casali popped to Bigham at second to end the game.
Zack Cox, the SEC's top hitter, did not play. Van Horn said before the game that Cox would also likely sit out next week's SEC tournament to rest his ailing back in hopes of having him full speed for the NCAA tournament. With the series win against Vandy, the Hogs are expected to host a first-round regional in two weeks.
Arkansas 7, Vanderbilt 5
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