TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (Univ. of Ark.) – Carson Shaddy’s opposite way single in the top of the ninth inning broke a 5-5 tie with Alabama Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, leading the 17th-ranked Arkansas baseball team to an 8-5 win over the Crimson Tide and its third-straight Southeastern Conference series win.
Shaddy, who had struggled at the plate all weekend, came into his ninth inning at-bat just 1-for-12 (.083) in the series. The Tide intentionally walked freshman Dominic Fletcher to load the bases before Shaddy came up, but the redshirt junior made them pay with his clutch hit to bring in what were the game winning runs.
Even with just one hit in the game, Shaddy still turned in a team-high three RBIs as he had a sacrifice fly to give Arkansas its first run of the game in the second inning.
With the win, Arkansas (22-6, 7-2 SEC) has won seven of its first nine conference games and clinched its first three SEC series for the first time since 2009. Alabama drops its third conference series in a row, falling to 13-15 overall and 2-7 in SEC play.
Every Razorback starter recorded at least one hit in Sunday’s game, part of a 13 hit outburst. It’s the second game of the series that Arkansas recorded 10 or more hits in a game and 14th this season.
Junior Chad Spanberger came away with the big day at the plate as he went 4-for-5 (.800), all singles, with two runs scored and two RBIs. The four hits for the Illinois native is a career-high and he is the third player with a four-hit game this year.
Fletcher was the only other multi-hit performer for the Hogs, as he went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored. It’s his fourth multi-RBI game this year, as he now has 16 runs batted in through 25 games.
Moments That Mattered
Arkansas had to earn every bit of Sunday’s win as Alabama came back to tie the game on three separate occasions. Razorback starting pitcher Josh Alberius looked sharp through the first two innings of the game, but had trouble closing out the third after giving up two two-out singles and then a three-run home run to Kyle Kaufman, tying the game at 3-3.
The Hogs finally broke through to retake the lead in the sixth inning on a two-RBI single from Spanberger to make it 5-3 Arkansas. Only three Razorback baserunners reached in the fourth and fifth innings, but Alabama was forced to go to its bullpen in the middle of the fourth as starter Nick Eicholtz had thrown 81 pitches in just 3.1 innings.
By the sixth, Alabama’s first reliever out of the bullpen, Garrett Suchey, started struggling with control as Jared Gates reached on a strikeout-wild pitch and then advanced to second on another wild pitch. Suchey then walked Jax Biggers to set up the sacrifice bunt from Jake Arledge. With two outs, Spanberger delivered the clutch hit of his own, taking the first pitch he saw to left field, scoring two.
Alabama roared back to retie the game at 5-5 with a two-run seventh inning. Dominic Taccolini, who had come in from the bullpen in the fourth inning walked the first two batters he faced in the seventh frame, forcing head coach Dave Van Horn to go to the bullpen a second time and bring in Cannon Chadwick.
Chadwick got two quick outs and seemed to be getting out of the inning, but gave up singles to Chandler Avant and Kaufman, followed by a wild pitch brought home Avant to tie the game.
The senior settled down, however, as he finished the seventh without relinquishing the lead and then threw a scoreless eighth and ninth frame, striking out two to earn his third victory of the year.
With only one run allowed on Sunday, Chadwick has only allowed four runs over his last seven appearances, three of those runs coming last week against Missouri.
Arkansas returns home after playing on the road for six of the last seven games as it will host Grand Canyon University for a two-game midweek series starting on Tuesday at Baum Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on SEC Network+.
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