FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A pair of eighth-inning homers from Jace Bohrofen and Caleb Cali helped No. 6 Arkansas (22-5, 5-3 SEC) outlast Alabama (21-7, 3-5 SEC), 9-6, in a wild back-and-forth slugfest on Saturday at Baum-Walker Stadium.
The Razorbacks extended their streak of consecutive games with a home run to 23 in Saturday’s win. Arkansas and Alabama will play for the series tomorrow with first pitch in the decisive game three set for 2 p.m. on SEC Network.
One day after mustering just one run on three hits against the Crimson Tide, the Razorback offense racked up nine runs on 10 hits, including three homers, in Saturday’s slugfest. Along with Bohorfen and Cali, Kendall Diggs also homered in the contest to increase the Hogs’ season home run total to 47 through its first 27 games of the campaign.
Alabama jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, tagging Arkansas starter Will McEntire for a run in the second and then three more in the fourth. McEntire lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out three.
The Razorbacks refused to go down without a fight, though, as Diggs’ three-run blast in the bottom of the third cut the Hogs’ deficit to one. Diggs, who finished the game 1-for-3 with three RBI, two runs scored and a walk, improved his season slash line to .354/.495/.747 and now has eight homers on the year, second most among all Razorback hitters.
Bohrofen’s RBI single in the sixth tied the game at four, but a one-out solo home run by Alabama’s Andrew Pinckney in the top of the seventh put the Crimson Tide back in front. The Hogs would punch right back in the bottom half of the inning, thanks to Tavian Josenberger’s go-ahead two-run double to right.
Josenberger, who finished with a team-leading three hits, gave Arkansas a 6-5 lead with his two-bagger, which came after Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with the home plate umpire.
Momentum was swinging in the Razorbacks’ favor, but the Crimson Tide would not go away. Alabama scored a run on a two-out single in the top of the eighth to tie the game at six apiece, setting the stage for Bohrofen and Cali’s heroics.
Bohrofen hammered a leadoff home run in the bottom half of the inning to break the tie before Cali drilled a two-run homer to the Hog Pen a few batters later, extending Arkansas’ advantage to 9-6. Bohrofen’s game-winning blast was his sixth of the season, while Cali’s 450-foot shot was his third of the year.
Working in relief of McEntire, Dylan Carter (2.1 IP, 2 SO) and Cody Adcock (0.1 IP, 1 SO), Hagen Smith locked down the final three innings of Saturday’s ballgame. The left-hander earned the win and improved to 5-0 on the year, allowing just two runs and striking out five while securing the Razorbacks’ 9-6 victory.
Derek Jones (play-by-play) and Lance Cormier (analyst) will have the call of tomorrow’s series finale at Baum-Walker Stadium. Arkansas looks to pick up its second SEC weekend series win of the season as well as its ninth weekend series win against Alabama in its last 11 tries.