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Roast Pig: Alabama Baseball Downs Arkansas 4-3 at SEC Tournament

The game signified the Crimson Tide's third win in a row over the Razorbacks in the last seven days.

HOOVER, Ala. — Alabama's road through the SEC Tournament doesn't look to be ending anytime soon.

On Wednesday afternoon at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, the 11-seed Crimson Tide took down the 3-seed Arkansas Razorbacks by a score of 4-3. The win marked the Crimson Tide's third win in a row over the Razorbacks in the last seven days, with Alabama also besting Arkansas two games to one in both teams' final series of the regular season.

"I thought it was an awesome college baseball game," Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon said after the game. "Fortunately Arkansas helped us a little bit early. To our guys' credit, we took advantage of some mistakes that they made, and really the story of the game, both bullpens were just outstanding. Weren't very many hits the back half of the game and was really proud of our whole team but especially those guys that pitched after Jacob McNairy gave us a good start today.

"Obviously a big win for us on so many levels and really happy for our kids and proud of them."

Just moments before the game, Arkansas announced that head coach Dave Van Horn would be absent from the game due to an undisclosed illness. According to Razorbacks right fielder Chris Lanzilli, the team wasn't informed until right before game time.

Like Tuesday's game, the scoring began early for the Crimson Tide. In the top of the second, left fielder Tommy Seidl reached on a fielder's choice with the bases loaded. While shortstop Jim Jarvis was out at second, an errant play by the Arkansas first baseman caused the ball to fling out of his glove. While Tamez scored on the initial fielder's choice, Denton advanced to third, then home on the errant throw to give Alabama a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the third, Alabama built on that lead when first baseman Drew Williamson fouled out to third. Center fielder Caden Rose tagged from third, sliding across the plate safe. The run marked the second time in as many days that the Crimson Tide had scored off of a flyout to the third baseman, a rare yet interesting coincidence.

"I mean, they're a great team," Williamson said of Arkansas. "Their staff is really talented. I guess just experience, just getting to see it over and over. You get to see it 100 times, it's going to be better than if you've never seen it. Just getting to play them back to back, I guess, did help tonight."

In the bottom of the third, Arkansas managed to score its first run of the game when shortstop Jalen Battles hit a solo home run deep over the left-center field wall.

In the top of the fourth with the bases loaded, a throwing error by the Arkansas catcher whilst trying to pick off Seidl at third gave him time to advance home for Alabama's fourth run of the game.

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In the bottom of the fifth, Crimson Tide pitching coach Jason Jackson went to the bullpen for the first time, replacing starter Jacob McNairy with left-handed reliever Jake Leger. With runners at the corners and one out, Leger struck out the next batter before forcing a groundout, seemingly giving Alabama even more momentum with a 4-1 lead.

The game wasn't solidly in the Crimson Tide's hands for long, though. In the bottom of the sixth, Lanzilli smacked a two-run home run to left center, pulling Arkansas within one run.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Jackson went to the bullpen once again, this time for right-hander Landon Green. After forcing Battles to ground out and hitting left fielder Zack Gregory with a pitch, Green was replaced by Canadian southpaw Antoine Jean.

After intentionally walking his first batter, Jean struck out Razorbacks designated hitter Brady Slavens, leaving two runners stranded and giving the Crimson Tide fans present a gleaming ray of sunshine-esque hope on an otherwise gloomy day.

After failing for the fourth-straight inning to add to its lead, Jean proceeded to retire the Arkansas batters in order in the bottom of the eighth. The Alabama faithful roared in delight as Jean forced Razorbacks second baseman Robert Moore to flyout to center field.

Jean stayed in for the bottom of the ninth, where he struck out his first batter and forced a groundout before giving up a single to Battles. Jean was then replaced on the mound by closer Dylan Ray, who struck out pinch-hitter Jace Bohrofen for the third and final out of both the inning and the contest.

For Alabama, Jean (5-1) was credited with the win on the mound while Ray (8) picked up the save. For Arkansas, Razorbacks starter Will McEntire (1-2) was saddled with the loss.

"It felt really good," Jean said on his performance on the mound after being hampered with injuries this season. "I was waiting to hear my name, and once they told me to go, it was time to go. The stadium got loud, I knew it was a big situation. Usually that's what brings my game up. I hope it does, I think it does.

"But it just felt great to be out there, and had a lot of fun tonight for sure."

With the win, Alabama will now rest on Thursday before taking on the winner between 2-seed Texas A&M and 7-seed Florida. With Arkansas' first loss of the tournament, it will face the loser between the Aggies and the Gators.

Alabama Stats

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Arkansas Stats

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2022 SEC Tournament
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