March 23, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Alabama baseball team was held to four hits and dropped the final game of a three-game Southeastern Conference series to the Arkansas Razorbacks, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon from Baum Stadium. With the loss, the Crimson Tide drops the conference series to the Razorbacks, falling to 15-8 overall and 3-3 in SEC play.
Arkansas (13-8, 3-3 SEC) starting pitcher Chris Oliver (2-2) made a second-inning Razorbacks run stand up as he blanked Alabama for seven innings, allowing four hits with a walk and a career-high six strikeouts to earn the win. Reliever Michael Gunn retired all six batters he faced to close the game, earning his third save of the season.
"Oliver threw really well today," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "His velocity was up and we had a hard time getting good swings on him today. Keller did a nice job as he worked around a couple of tough spots and Castillo pitched good as well. Both teams competed really hard and it was a good clean series, especially after Friday."
Crimson Tide starting pitcher Jon Keller went 5.1 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits with two strikeouts. In three starts this season, it was the first time Keller did not throw at least six innings. Ray Castillo threw the final 2.2 innings for the Tide, allowing no runs on one hit with two walks and one strikeout, as Castillo and Keller allowed just five hits.
Arkansas scored the only run of the game in the second inning, when Krisjon Wilkerson scored in a groundout off the bat of Bobby Wernes. Wilkerson tripled off the left centerfield wall with one out to set up the eventual game-winning run.
Offensively, Alabama got singles by Georgie Salem, Mikey White, Kyle Overstreet and Wade Wass.
"We knew coming in their strength was their arms," Gaspard said. "It's early in the SEC season but if you want to be there in the end, those are the kind of arms you have to beat. This weekend we weren't quite ready for that and when you face arms like that it's tough to generate offense."
Alabama returns to action on Tuesday, March 25 when it plays the Troy Trojans at the Vince J. Whibbs Maritime Community Park in Pensacola, Fla. The game between the Crimson Tide and Trojans will begin at 6:37 p.m. CT and will be televised on CST with Mike Morgan and Tommy Thrall calling the game.
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