FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas Razorbacks squeaked by the Georgia Bulldogs 5-4, needing an extra inning to do so Friday night at Baum Stadium.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, Evan Lee was walked and made it to first base. During an Eric Cole bunt, relief pitcher Blake Cairnes overthrew the second baseman and the ball rolled into right field. Lee took third and took home thanks to an overthrow by outfielder Tucker Bradley.
“He’s a really good runner, a strong runner,” said Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn. “He runs the bases extremely quick, probably the quickest guy running around the bases for us because of effort and know-how a little bit.”
Lee was a strike away from not even making it on base. But he battled back from an 0-2 count to fill the count and then take his base on a ball four.
Said Van Horn: “And there you go. So we lay down a bunt and that was it.”
The Razorbacks win their first second game of a series since the Mississippi State series in Fayetteville on March 18.
Georgia struck first blood when catcher Michael Curry hit a solo shot in the top of the fourth inning off of starting pitcher Trevor Stephan to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
Center fielder Dominic Fletcher drove in Jared Gates on an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to immediately respond to Georgia and tie the game 1-1.
The Bulldogs volleyed back in the top of the fifth when Curry hit an RBI single that drove right fielder Bradley to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Arkansas wouldn’t regain the lead until the bottom of the seventh when Luke Bonfield hit a two-run homer that scored Jax Biggers and gave the Razorbacks a 3-2 lead. In the eighth inning, the Hogs would pad their lead as Jake Arledge hit an RBI single to also send Biggers home and give Arkansas a 4-2 lead.
In the ninth inning, the Bulldogs forced the game into extra innings when shortstop Cam Shepherd reached first on a fielder’s choice. A throwing error at second base allowed Bradley the chance to take home along with L.J. Talley to tie the game at 4-4. Bonfield and Grant Koch struck out and Carson Shaddy flied out to center field as Georgia sent the game to a 10th inning.
A fly-out to first base and a double play allowed the Hogs to hold the Bulldogs hitless in the 10th.
“They stayed positive,” said Van Horn. “Like we’re here. We might as well win it. It was big for us to come back and win that game.”
Stephan went 4.2 innings pitched and gave up two runs on five hits and hit one batter. He struck out six batters and walked none before being relieved in the fourth inning by Cannon Chadwick for 2.2 innings. Dominic Taccolini (0.2 IP) and Jake Reindl (2.0 IP) finished out the rest of the game for the Razorbacks to preserve the victory.
Arkansas moves to 28-8 on the season and 10-4 in the Southeastern Conference. The final game of the three-game series is Saturday at 2:00 p.m. on Fox Sports Radio 1400 with pregame at 1:30 p.m. and Phil Elson on the play-by-play and Rick Schaeffer on the color commentary.