April 1, 2011
Box Score | Quotes/Notes
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 21-ranked Alabama baseball team (20-8, 6-1 SEC) defeated the No. 13-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks (18-7, 2-5 SEC) in Southeastern Conference play by a final of 5-3 on the back of Austen Smith, Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
"Austen Smith was big tonight, obviously the triple in the first to clear off the bases and get us up 3-0," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Tonight, it was Austen Smith who delivered big for us offensively, but I thought we got pretty good pressure."
Smith excelled at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a triple, knocking in four of the Crimson Tide's five runs. Taylor Dugas continued to swing a consistent stick, going 3-for-4 with one walk and two runs to raise his on-base percentage to a whopping .512.
The Tide also received another solid performance from starting pitcher Nathan Kilcrease (4-1, 2-1 SEC). The senior went 7.0 innings, allowing only two earned runs on six hits while walking two and striking out seven to earn the win.
Alabama closer Jonathan Smart closed the door for the Tide, earning his sixth save of the season, fourth in SEC play, coming in for 1.1 innings of work and striking out three. Arkansas starter Cade Lynch (2-1, 0-1 SEC) took the loss for the Razorbacks.
Alabama kicked off the scoring early. In the bottom of the first, the Tide loaded the bases after the first three batters reached base. With the bases juiced, Smith smacked a triple down the right field line to clear the bases and set the Tide's lead at 3-0.
The Tide added another tally in the very next inning. With the bases loaded, Jared Reaves was called out on an infield fly that was dropped by the second baseman. The error allowed Brett Booth to score from third to make it a 4-0 game.
Alabama continued its scoring trend in the fourth. A single through the left side allowed Dugas to score again and gave Smith his fourth RBI of the game, bringing the score to 5-0 and ending the scoring on the night for the Tide.
Arkansas would not go quietly. The Hogs came alive in the top of the fifth after a leadoff walk and single put runners on second and third. Two batters later, a single that fell in front of the right fielder brought home both runners, narrowing the gap to 5-2.
"You could kind of feel the momentum swinging towards Arkansas late but Smart came in and made a couple of huge pitches," Gaspard added. "He threw the ball inside and got the first strikeout, and obviously got the strikeout of (Collin) Kuhn who was 4-for-4 on the day before that."
In the eighth, the Hogs continued to chip away at the Tide lead. A leadoff homer to right that inched over the wall added one to the Razorback total and peaked the score at 5-3, the eventual final.
Alabama returns to action on Saturday for game two of three versus the Razorbacks. The Tide looks to throw junior lefty Adam Morgan (3-1, 1-0 SEC) while Arkansas has not yet announced its starter for the midday game. First pitch is scheduled for a 2:05 p.m. CT start at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.