Lael Lockhart was near perfect and No. 1 Arkansas’ offense took control of the game early for a 11-2 victory over Georgia in the SEC Tournament on Wednesday.
Lockhart was one out away from a perfect game in the seventh, but gave up a single and home run. He gave up two runs, on two hits, struck out 11 and no walks on 74 pitches. The Hogs led 10-0 when the Bulldogs scored its first two runs. Lockhart (3-2) got the win.
Arkansas struck first. After going down in order in the top of one, the Hogs erupted in the bottom of the second. Christian Franklin and Robert Moore walked to start the inning. Cullen Smith then followed with a double that got Franklin across the plate for a 1-0 lead. Then with one out, Jalen Battles singled to get Moore in for a 2-0 lead. Zack Gregory walked as did Cayden Wallace. Smith scored on Wallace’s walk. Brady Slavens then hit an infield single, but hit first base awkwardly and was helped from the field. On his single, Battles scored. Wallace scored the sixth run of the inning when a pick-off attempt to first was thrown away. With Slavens leaving the game, Smith moved to first base and then Jacob Nesbit came in at third base.
The Hogs loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth. Gregory singled to start the inning. Wallace walked and Nesbit reached on an error on the Georgia third baseman. Moore hit a deep sacrifice fly to center that scored Gregory for a 7-0 lead.
The Razorbacks continued to pour it on in the bottom of the fifth. Smith started the inning off with a solo home run to make it 8-0. Casey Opitz followed with a single while Battles and Gregory then walked to load the bases with no outs. Wallace walked with one out and bases loaded to plate Opitz for 9-0 lead. With two outs, Franklin walked to allow Battles to score for a 10-0 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Battles walked and Moore scored to make it 11-2.
Heston Tole replaced Lockhart in the top of the eighth and completed the game. The Razorbacks finished the game with seven hits and drew 13 walks. Georgia also had three errors in the game.
Arkansas is now 43-10. They will play the Vanderbilt and Ole Miss winner on Thursday at 8 p.m. CT.