By Vince Ferrara
Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com
In Game 9 of the SEC Baseball Tournament at
Regions Park, the No. 7-seed Arkansas Razorbacks (34-21)
eliminated the No. 2-seed Florida Gators (39-20) with a 10-7 win
Friday afternoon. Florida is the third team bounced from the
tournament, joining Ole Miss and Alabama. Both Gators losses in
the tournament were to the Razorbacks. Arkansas is 5-0 versus
Florida this season. After going 1-2 in the SEC Tournament,
Florida now prepares for a possible regional host spot. Regional
sites will be announced Sunday at approximately 2:30 p.m. CT and
the NCAA Tournament bracket selection show will be Monday at
11:30 a.m. CT on ESPN.
Arkansas used a young line-up while resting some banged-up
seniors to hold off a game Florida team.
"I'm just really excited to get through that
one," said Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn, "get a win and get
to stay in Hoover at least one more day, possibility of playing
two tomorrow, which would be fun. At this time of year we just
want to play and continue to get better."
Florida produced two big innings but could not keep Arkansas
down the next half inning. With Arkansas leading 2-0, Florida
scored three runs in the top of the fourth to take a 3-2
lead. Arkansas responded with a five-run bottom of the fourth to
put them back on top 7-3. With Arkansas up 8-3, Florida got
right back in the game with a four-run top of the seventh
inning. Once again, Arkansas responded with two runs in the
bottom of the seventh.
"Their pitching did a nice job," said Florida
Gators head coach Kevin O'Sullivan. "The bottom line is the game
came down to we didn't stop them after we scored. The big inning
hurt us. We could never quite gain the momentum. It seems as
though as soon as we got it, we lost it in the bottom half of
the inning. It's frustrating."
Neither starter made it out of the fourth inning. Florida used
six pitchers in the game. Reliever Greg Larson (3-2) was charged
with the loss. Arkansas reliever Sam Murphy (3-1) picked-up the
win. Arkansas hitting star Zack Cox came on to pitch the last
two innings of perfect relief to earn the save, his first of the
year. Cox was also 2 for 3 at the plate with three runs driven
in, a walk and a run. Cox also had the most impressive home run
of the tournament, which hit off the top of the scoreboard in
right center and electrified the crowd at Regions Park.
Both teams committed two errors. Both of Florida's errors were
by SS Mike Mooney, who now has 16 on the year.
for Florida, Brandon McArthur went 3 for 4 with two runs driven
in. Jonathan Pigott (right) hit his third home run of the
tournament. Pigott only had two homers in the entire regular
Arkansas (2-1) will next play Saturday at 10 a.m. CT versus
Vanderbilt (2-0) in a highly unexpected 7 vs. 8 seed match-up.
If Vanderbilt wins, it will be in the SEC Championship Game
Sunday at 3 p.m. CT. If Arkansas wins, the two teams will play
again on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT in an elimination game.
The winner of tonight's LSU (1-1)/South Carolina (1-1) game will
next play at 1:30 p.m. CT on Saturday versus Georgia (2-0). If
Georgia wins, it will play in the SEC Championship Game Sunday
at 3 p.m. CT. If either LSU or South Carolina beat Georgia,
those same two teams would play again on Saturday at either 5 or
8 p.m. CT, in an elimination game. If South Carolina beats
Georgia, that would set-up a rare (SEC or any conference
tournament) weekend of the bottom four seeded teams in the SEC
(photo by Jimmy Jones)