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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Razorbacks take down top-seeded Gators

2015 days ago
SEC Staff
Photo: Michael Wade

HOOVER, Ala. -- No. 4 seed Arkansas defeated No. 1 seed Florida 8-2 to clinch a semifinal berth in the SEC baseball tournament.

Arkansas freshman Casey Martin continued his SEC tournament hot streak, launching a two-run shot in the second to put the Razorbacks in front. Martin hit two home runs in Wednesday's game against South Carolina.

With one out and two runners on base in the third, Florida's Nelson Maldonado knocked the ball into center field, where Dominic Fletcher made a diving catch and then showed off his arm by throwing out the runner at third to end the inning.

Fletcher delivered at the plate too, extending the Hogs' lead in the sixth with an RBI single. Razorbacks senior Jared Gates also hit a single in the sixth to tack on another run.

The Gators' first run came from a sixth-inning home run by SEC Player of the Year Jonathan India, his 17th homer of the season. UF's Austin Langworthy cut the Razorbacks' lead to 4-2 with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly. With Florida looking to rally, Razorbacks LHP Matt Cronin struck out Brady Smith to strand the Gators' two tying runs.

Hunter Wilson blasted a grand slam in the top of the ninth to add some insurance for the Razorbacks. With Auburn's Edouard Julien and South Carolina's LT Tolbert hitting grand slams on Wednesday, this marks the first time in SEC tournament history with three grand slams in the same year.

"When I was on deck, Coach Van Horn told me to be ready to slap something the other way because that's usually what I do," said Wilson. "I got a breaking ball down and got the bat head out and let the wind do the rest, I guess. It was fun. It was a good time. It was everything you dream about. That's for sure."

Arkansas starter Blaine Knight improved to 10-0 on the season. The right-hander threw four strikeouts across six innings, allowing just one run and four hits. Cronin earned his 11th save of the season.

"Blaine is one of those guys when he pitches we usually play really well behind him," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "It's like our defense is on its toes. They compete for him, and he competes for us. I thought he did a good job. It was a hot day, humid. When out, as usual, he gives us a chance to win. I'm just proud of him and our team for getting up early and coming out here and getting after it."

Pitcher Jackson Kowar (9-4) made his 15th start of the season for the Gators, throwing six innings. He finished with seven K's, giving up four runs on seven hits.

UP NEXT: The Razorbacks advanced to Saturday's second semifinal game. The Gators face No. 8 seed LSU in an elimination game tonight at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network.