The boisterous first base dugout cut through the home crowd at Baum-Walker Stadium on Friday night as the Alabama Crimson Tide ushered 16 runners across home plate to hand the Razorback baseball team its third consecutive loss.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Peyton Pallette took the ball for Arkansas and looked shaky from the start. He emerged from the first inning unscathed despite a pair of walks, but the second inning brought a world of pain for Pallette and the Hogs.
Alabama paraded around the bases, Gas-House-Gorillas style. Head coach Dave Van Horn hooked his starter after surrendering a walk, two singles and a hit batsman. Freshman righty Blake Adams entered with the bases loaded and nobody out, and the situation only deteriorated from there.
The Crimson Tide sent 11 more hitters to the plate in the inning, charging Pallette with four runs and Adams with six.
“(We) really had a hard time throwing the ball over the plate in the second inning,” Van Horn said in a postgame press conference. “Got behind a lot of hitters, walked people, hit people, gave up a couple of big hits, balls just found holes. If it could have gone wrong, it went wrong.”
Junior lefty Patrick Wicklander took the mound to end the nightmare with a strikeout of Alabama’s leading hitter, left fielder William Hamiter. Wicklander was the only Arkansas pitcher with a respectable stat line on the night, posting three hits, an earned run, no walks and six strikeouts over 5 ⅓ innings of work.
Between the third and seventh innings, Wicklander retired 13 consecutive batters before an Alabama home run that made the score 11-1.
Van Horn said it was “100 percent” the type of outing that could earn Wicklander a spot in the weekend rotation going forward.
“He pitched well, he moved the ball in and out (of the strike zone), threw his breaking ball for a strike, worked ahead in the count, and that’s how you pitch,” Van Horn said.
At the plate, the Razorbacks were just as ineffective as they were on the mound with one exception. Junior center fielder Christian Franklin went 3-3 with a walk, an infield hit and a solo homer, the only Arkansas run of the game.
“Good for his confidence,” Van Horn said. “He’s been a little bit of a tough-luck hitter so far this year...it’s always good to get him going because he’s a guy that we’ve got to have in the middle of the order.”
The Crimson Tide used just two pitchers in their throttling of the Razorbacks. Right-hander Tyler Ras notched a quality start in six innings of one-run ball, and he gave way to Connor Shamblin who allowed three baserunners in as many innings.
Sophomore lefty Evan Taylor worked the final two innings for Arkansas, allowing five more Crimson Tide runs, including four with two out in the eighth. In total, Alabama’s No. 4-9 hitters mashed four homers, drove in 12 runs and scored 14 times.
The Razorbacks and Crimson Tide will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and the contest can be streamed on the SEC Network+. The Hogs will aim to avoid going winless for the week with senior righty Zebulon Vermillion on the bump opposite Alabama’s Dylan Smith.
“The only way you can dispose of this game is you go out and play better tomorrow, win or lose,” Van Horn said. “Hopefully we’ll come out tomorrow and compete a little bit better than we did tonight.”