Barrett Astin gets 6th save of 2012 as Razorbacks sweep Alabama

FAYETTEVILLE (UofA) – The Arkansas offense pounded out 11 hits, while the Razorback bullpen combined to allow just one run in 4.2 innings as No. 4 Arkansas completed a three-game sweep of Alabama with a 7-4 win on Sunday afternoon.

Arkansas improved to 19-2 on the season and 3-0 in Southeastern Conference play. The Razorbacks have now won a season high nine straight games. Alabama dropped to 8-12 with the loss.

The Arkansas offense had 11 hits in the win, marking the team's eight double-digit hit total of the season. Bo Bigham, Jimmy Bosco and Matt Reynolds each had two hits to lead the Razorbacks at the plate. Matt Vinson reached base three times, drawing two walks and recording a hit, and also added two RBI.

Arkansas reliever Nolan Sanburn (2-1) earned the win, giving up a run and striking out one in 2.2 innings.

Barrett Astin picked up his sixth save of the season, retiring the three batters he faced in the ninth inning on just five pitches. The save on Sunday capped an impressive win for Astin, who finished the week with a three saves and a win. Astin has now thrown 20 innings this season without allowing a run.

Cade Lynch also pitched well out of the Arkansas bullpen, striking out one and retiring all three batters he faced.

Arkansas starter Randall Fant did not factor into the decision after allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out four in 4.1 innings.

Alabama starter Trey Pilkington took the loss after giving up four runs, three earned on seven hits in an inning plus of work.

The Razorbacks grabbed an early lead with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Bosco and Dominic Ficociello hit back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. Reynolds then grounded a base hit into left field to score Bosco and send Ficociello to third. A sacrifice fly to center field by Sam Bates brought home Ficociello to make the score 2-0. After a base hit by Bigham put runners at first and second, Vinson had a two-out RBI hit to center to score Arkansas' third run of the inning.

Arkansas stretched the lead to 4-0 with a run in the bottom of the second. The Razorbacks loaded the bases with nobody out, but would only get the one run on Ficociello's 6-4-3 double play.

Alabama broke through for the first time with a run in the top of the third. James Tullidge had a double to the left-center field alley to start the inning and then moved to third on a one-out single by Hunter Gregory. A base hit to right-center field by Jared Reaves scored Tullidge.

Arkansas responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning. A single by Bigham and a walk by Vinson began the inning. Jake Wise attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but the Alabama pitcher was able to throw out Bigham at third for the first out of the inning. Jacob Morris reached on catcher's interference to load the bases with one out. Tim Carver then hit a chopper to the second baseman, who misplayed the ball, allowing Carver to reach and scoring both Vinson and Wise.

Alabama cut the lead back to three with two runs in the top of the fifth. Back-to-back singles by Andrew Miller and James Tullidge and a walk to Taylor Dugas loaded the bases with nobody out. Gregory brought in a run on a fielder's choice groundout to third. Reaves then scored Tullidge on a sacrifice fly to center field to cut the lead to 6-3.

The Razorbacks scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the sixth. Ficociello drew a lead off walk and Reynolds singled down the left field line to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Joe Serrano's sacrifice bunt attempt was unsuccessful as Ficociello was retired at third for the first out of the inning. A walk to Bigham put a runner on every base. Vinson then grounded out to second to score Reynolds.

Alabama closed the scoring with a run in the top of the seventh. Miller began the inning with a double to left field and moved to third on a ground out by Tullidge. Dugas then grounded out to short to score Miller.

Miller and Tullidge each had a pair of hits for Alabama. Reaves drove in a pair of runs in the loss.

Arkansas is back in action on Tuesday and Wednesday as it closes its 10-game homestand against Nevada. First pitch for each game is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.