Herston Kjerstad’s dramatic walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th propelled Arkansas to a 5-3 win over South Alabama, giving the three game series to the Hogs, two games to one. Arkansas, which snapped a five game losing streak on Saturday, moved to 9-5 on the season.
The Jaguars struck first in the top of the 1st. A single off Arkansas starter Kole Ramage followed by a wild pitch put the leadoff batter on second. An RBI single brought him home for a 1-0 lead.
Arkansas quickly answered in the bottom of the 1st. Christian Franklin tripled and came home on a sac fly by Matt Goodheart. It was 1-1 after an inning.
The visitors put runners on first and second in the 2nd but Ramage was able to get out of the inning without any damage. The Hogs blew a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 2nd. Braydon Webb reached first on a throwing error. He advanced to 2nd and then 3rd on wild pitches but was stranded there.
South Alabama took the lead on an RBI triple in the 3rd after Ramage had plunked the leadoff batter. A sacrifice to short made it 3-1. But Ramage bounced back with a fly out, ground out and strikeout.
Franklin promptly cut the lead to one with a leadoff shot over the left field wall in the bottom of the 3rd, home run number three on the season for him. Kjerstad followed with a double and Goodheart walked. Casey Martin flied out to the wall in left center. Kjerstad advanced to third but Goodheart remained at first. Moore struck out but Webb tied the game up with a single to left.
Elijah Trest replaced Ramage in the 4th. He promptly gave up a leadoff single followed by a walk. But a strikeout, a flyball to right and another strikeout got him out of trouble.
Arkansas went down in order in the bottom of the 4th as did the visitors in the top of the 5th. Casey Martin reached second with two outs in the bottom of the 5th but Moore could not advance him. It was still tied at 3-3 going to the 6th.
Trest opened the 6th with a walk. A sacrifice put the potential lead run in scoring position. Trest then hit a batter but again got out of the jam with back to back strikeouts.
A leadoff walk in the bottom of the 6th led to a pitching change for South Alabama. Webb reached second but with two outs Arkansas’ threat ended when Cole Austin struck out looking. Both Austin and head coach Dave Van Horn protested the call angrily.
Zebulon Vermillion entered the game in the 7th. A throwing error by Martin at shortstop allowed the leadoff runner to reach. He was moved into scoring position with a sac bunt but again the Hogs got out of a jam when Vermillion recorded back to back strikeouts. The Hogs went quietly in order in the bottom of the 7th.
Vermillion had no trouble in the 8th facing just three batters.
Arkansas just missed a huge inning in the bottom of the frame. Casey Martin was robbed of a double by a diving catch in right center. Moore drew a walk and Braydon Webb’s bid for a towering two run homer to left was just foul. He struck out and Casey Optiz flied out to right.
Vermillion was again sharp in the 9th, retiring the side in order, marking nine straight batters set down.
The Hogs entered the bottom of the 9th having not recorded a hit since the 3rd inning. But Franklin delivered a two out single followed by Kjerstad’s walkoff shot to right into the teeth of a stiff wind.