Tom Hurley | @TomHurleyKernel
Two runs in the fifth inning sparked No. 14 Arkansas to a 2-1 win over No. 23 UK baseball on Friday night in the first of a three-game set at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Junior catcher Jake Wise led off the fifth inning with a home run down the right field line to put the Razorbacks ahead, 1-0.
Arkansas (31-15, 14-7 SEC) added an insurance run later in the inning when senior outfielder Matt Vinson hit an RBI single down the middle to score senior infielder Jacob Mahan and give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
The Cats gave themselves a chance to reply in the bottom of the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with zero outs as junior second baseman J.T. Riddle hit a bunt single with two men on, one of his three hits on the night.
Freshman catcher Greg Fettes grounded into a fielder’s choice to score sophomore right-handed pitcher A.J. Reed from third base and get the Cats within one.
Arkansas’ junior right-handed pitcher Barrett Astin then struck out sophomore third baseman Max Kuhn in his last act of the night, before senior left-handed pitcher Trent Daniel came in to end the inning.
UK (26-18, 9-13 SEC) threatened to tie and even win the game late on, with twice the winning run stepping to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but the Razorbacks held on for the 2-1 win.
Astin struck out four and allowed five hits in 5.2 innings for his fourth win of the season.
Junior right-handed pitcher Colby Suggs struck out two as he picked up his ninth save of the year for the Razorbacks.
Reed worked 7.1 innings and struck out five batters on seven hits and two earned runs as he dropped to 2-6 on the season.
With Sunday’s game being moved forward a day due to anticipated inclement weather, the Cats and the Razorbacks will play a double-header on Saturday.
First pitch for game one is set for noon, with the second game of the day starting no less than 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first contest.ken