GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After losing 2-1 and 1-0 heartbreakers Friday and Saturday to the Florida Gators, Arkansas flogged Florida 9-3 Sunday in the final game of the SEC season-opening series at Florida's McKethan Stadium.
The Razorbacks take 9-7 overall and 1-2 in the SEC records back to Baum Stadium for 6:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. nonconference games Tuesday and Wednesday against Grambling State before hosting Alabama in next weekend's three-game SEC series.
Florida finished the series 13-7 overall and 2-1 in the SEC.
Arkansas on Sunday jumped on the Gators early, scoring four runs in the first two innings, and added two in the fourth and three in the ninth after Florida pulled within 6-3 after the fourth inning. The Gators scored one run in the second and two in the fourth with no outs before being held scoreless over the final six innings. The win snapped Florida’s season-high seven-game winning streak and was the Gators’ first loss at home since Feb. 28.
Junior Jacob Stone (3-0) earned his third win of the season after he pitched three shutout innings, striking out three and allowing just one hit. Junior Chris Oliver made the start and allowed one unearned run over two innings. Junior Michael Gunn picked up his second save of 2014 by pitching the final three innings and allowing just one hit with no runs and one strikeout.
Senior team captain Jake Wise hit his first home run of the season, blasting a shot over the wall in left field leading off the second inning, and also added a double. Junior Brian Anderson led the Razorbacks with three RBI collected with a sacrifice fly in the first inning and a two-RBI double in the second. Freshman Andrew Benintendi and sophomore Tyler Spoon, batting first and second, respectively, each scored three runs to pace Arkansas from the top of the lineup.
“I’m happy with our performance today," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. "We scored early and built on it but then they made a run at us. The guys that came out of the bullpen did a nice job, and we just kept chipping away. It was big getting those three runs in the ninth to give us some cushion.”
Regarding the importance of Sunday's success avoiding a Florida sweep, Van Horn said, "This was a huge win for us. Nobody in the SEC West won three games this weekend, so we are only one game down. We are within striking distance. This is a nine-week grind in SEC play and some tough games in between. I told them to enjoy this until we get off the plane in Fayetteville, and then we need to start thinking about Grambling on Tuesday. The team showed a lot of toughness to bounce back after a tough loss last night. I knew we were going to play well today. I didn’t know if we were going to win, but I could tell we were going to play well.”