The Razorbacks completed a regular season-ending sweep of Florida behind a seven-run 7th to break open a 2-2 pitcher’s duel as the Hogs went to 42-10 on the season and finished 22-8 in the SEC. Arkansas head Coach Dave Van Horn countered Gator starter Franco Aleman by using five different pitchers through the first seven innings. A two RBI double by Charlie Welsh and a three-run homer by Brady Slavens fueled the Hogs’ big inning. Slavens finished with five RBI on a pair of long dingers.
With an SEC championship already won head coach Dave Van Horn made some personnel and lineup changes, starting Jaxon Wiggins against the Gators with Eathan Bates in left field, Dylan Leach behind the plate and Matt Goodheart leading off.
Wiggins, in just his second start of the season, came out throwing heat and set Florida down in order in the 1st. Aleman, a 6-6, 235 pound right hander, went 1-2-3 against the Hogs in the bottom of the 1st.
Wiggins worked around a one-out single in the 2nd. Robert Moore sent a one-out double down the line at 3rd for Arkansas’ first hit of the game but Hogs failed to advance him. The game remained scoreless after two.
In the third Wiggins shook off a two-out triple to left, ending the threat on an infield pop up but Aleman continued to frustrate Arkansas with his second 1-2-3 inning.
Kole Ramage took over for Wiggins in the 4th. He promptly gave up a leadoff single to national home run leader Jud Fabian, his first hit of the weekend. But Leach threw him out on a steal attempt. Ramage followed with a strikeout, gave up a two-out single and ended it on a flyball to left.
Cayden Wallace opened the bottom of the 4th with a single up the middle after narrowly missing a home run to left. Slavens followed with a deep ball that was well inside the foul pole in left giving Arkansas a 2-0 lead. A one-out single and a walk put the Hogs in a position to score more but Bates, in just his sixth start of the season, sent a screaming liner to right that was grabbed on a shoestring catch. Moore was doubled off trying to score from second.
Connor Noland entered the game for Ramage in the 5th. He gave up a lead off single. A steal on a strikeout and an infield base hit put Gators on the corners with one out. An infield sacrifice brought a run in from third and it was 2-1 Arkansas. Nolan prevented further damage by ending Florida’s half of the inning on a caught flyball to left.
Arkansas went quickly in the bottom of the 5th. Heston Tole continued the parade on the mound for the Hogs. He hit a batter, gave up a single to right and the Gators had men at the corners with nobody out. A double play, short to second to first, brought the tying run home from third. Tole then ended it on a strikeout.
Arkansas went in order in the bottom of the 6th. Zebulon Vermillion became the fifth pitcher of the game for the Razorbacks and he set the Gators down in order in the 7th.
In the bottom of the inning Arkansas got to Aleman as he moved past 90 pitches in the game. Cullen Smith sent a one-out base hit to center. Bates moved Smith to third with a single to right and Jalen Battles brought him home with a single to left for a 3-2 lead. Aleman then beaned Leach and his day was done. Charlie Welsh, the hero of Arkansas’ 4-3 game two win, stepped up to a thunderous applause facing Florida reliever Jordan Butler who had given up just two hits on the season. Butler served up a run scoring wild pitch before Welsh sent a pinch hit, two RBI double off the wall in left center. Slavens followed with three-run home run to right and suddenly the game was blown open at 9-2.
Ryan Costeiu became the Hogs sixth pitcher of the game and he set Florida down in order in the 8th. After a scoreless bottom of the inning Zack Morris came on in the 9th to try to finish it off for Arkansas. The Gators added one run for the 9-3 final.