6 hours ago
Arkansas and Vanderbilt Athletics
NASHVILLE, TN- No. 12 Vanderbilt edged No. 2 Arkansas 7-6 Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field to win the series against the Razorbacks and end the regular season with straight wins.
Despite the loss, Arkansas (39-15, 20-10 SEC) won its fourth regular-season SEC championship at Hawkins Field. The Razorbacks shared the title with No. 4 Florida (42-13, 20-10 SEC) after both teams finished the season with an SEC-leading 20 wins.
Arkansas clinched its second SEC title in the last three seasons and its fourth in school history (1999, 2004, 2021 and 2023). The Razorbacks also won their eighth SEC West title, including four since 2018. Dave Van Horn has led the program to seven division championships and its last three SEC titles since becoming head coach in 2003.
Nonetheless, the field day belonged to Vanderbilt.
Troy LaNeve hit a three-run home run for the second straight game to help spark the Commodores’ offense. Vandy had 12 hits with the last four batters on the order with a combined total of 8 for 15 at the plate.
Ryan Ginther got the start and had four solid runs to tie his career high. Ginther didn’t allow a run and struck out five batters. David Horn pitched 2.1 scoreless innings and Nick Maldonado closed the door for his eighth save of the season.
Arkansas struck first thanks to a Vanderbilt error. The Razorbacks put a pair on base with a walk and a single on top of the second. A ground ball provided a double play opportunity, but the throw to second was errant, allowing the runner from second to come back and score. Arkansas added a second run on a sack fly to lead 2-0.
Vanderbilt responded quickly within half a second at home. Parker Noland has shaken things up with a unique single. RJ Austin followed with a brace to put two on LaNeve’s base. LaNeve, who hit the three-run homer in the eighth inning on Friday, did it again on Saturday with a three-run left shot to put Vanderbilt in the lead 3-2.
Schreck singled to take the lead on the bottom of third and moved to second on a bunt from the sack. Austin then fielded a two-out single to left that scored Schreck from second to increase Vandy’s lead to 4-2.
Arkansas regained the lead with four runs on five hits in the top of the fifth to move up 6-4.
The Commodores pulled themselves together in the bottom of the sixth. TJ McKenzie scored a one-out single and Vastine doubled to put the runners up for second and third. A disallowance brought McKenzie home and Bradfield tied the Dores at 6-6 with a field single that allowed Vastine to touch home.
Bradfield stole second and third and another denial brought it home as Vandy took a 7-6 lead. Bradfield now ranks third in SEC history with 127 career stolen bases.
Nick Maldonado recorded his second save in as many days and his eighth of the season. Arkansas scored the tying run in the ninth but Maldonado got a ground ball to Austin who started a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Vanderbilt will be the No. 4 seed at next week’s SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama. The Commodores will play Game 4 on Wednesday and face the winner of the 5-seeded vs. 12-seeded game.
Arkansas is the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament and will play its first game Wednesday at the Hoover Met. The Hogs face the winner of Tuesday’s knockout game between seventh-seeded Tennessee and 10th-seeded Texas A&M.