(arkansasrazorbacks.com) – The 23rd-ranked University of Arkansas baseball team (29-18, 14-10) used a stellar pitching performance from Keaton McKinney to cap a series sweep over Alabama (23-24, 8-16) with a 4-0 victory Saturday afternoon at the Hoover Met.
Arkansas continues to be one of the hottest teams in the country, winning for the 10th time in 12 games and improving to 18-6 over the last 24 games. The Razorbacks pick up their first SEC series sweep of the year and have won an SEC-best six consecutive conference series.
While Keaton McKinney dominated on the mound, the story belonged to National Player of the Year candidate Andrew Benintendi who continues to sizzle at the plate, adding two more hits, including his nation-leading 15th home run of the year in the sixth inning.
Benintendi became the first player in program history to hit 15 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season as he has accomplished the feat just 47 games into the year. Over the last 20 games, the sophomore from Cincinnati has raised his batting average 77 points and now leads the SEC at .386 on the year.
McKinney was equally impressive on the mound, tossing his second complete game in his last four starts with a two-out complete-game shutout. He becomes the first Arkansas pitcher to record a complete-game shutout since Brett Eibner blanked No. 1 Georgia back in 2009.
The freshman set down the first eight Alabama hitters in the game and faced one over the minimum through the first four innings. McKinney worked perfect 1-2-3 frames in six of the nine innings and needed just 100 pitches to shutout the Crimson Tide.
The offense was all about Benintendi, as he laced an RBI single to right center in the third inning, belted a solo home run in the sixth and lifted a sacrifice fly to center in the eighth for a three RBI performance. Rick Nomura added an insurance run in the ninth with a solo homer as Arkansas cruised to a 4-0 victory. Clark Eagan finished with three hits at the top of the order
Arkansas returns to action next weekend, welcoming Tennessee to town for a three-game series at Baum Stadium. For a full rundown of promotion
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- Recorded his NCAA-leading 15th home run of the year in the sixth inning.
- Is the first player in school history with 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season.
- Finished the weekend hitting .455 with a .500 on base percentage and four runs batted in.
- Leads the SEC in home runs (15), batting average (.386), slugging percentage (.729) and total bases (121).
- Ranks second in the SEC with 48 runs scored and 34 walks.
- Ranks third in the SEC with 46 RBI's and 20 stolen bases.
- Has reached base safely in 20 straight games.
- Has at least one hit in 18 of the last 20 games.