Baseball Wins First Series at No. 9 Arkansas in 10 Years
April 14, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Cameron Flynn launched a two-run homer in the fourth inning and starting pitcher Corey Littrell turned in his fourth consecutive winning effort in a rubber match, leading No. 1 Kentucky to its first series victory at No. 9 Arkansas since 2002, with UK posting a 2-1 win over the Razorbacks on Sunday in front of 9,575 at Baum Stadium.
Kentucky (32-5, 11-4 Southeastern Conference) won its first series at raucous Baum Stadium since the 2002 season and just its second in program annals. The Wildcats posted a 5-4 win in the second game of the series and the first of the Saturday doubleheader, before the thrilling 2-1 win in the finale of the doubleheader. UK's twinbill sweep at Baum Stadium is the first time Arkansas has lost both games of a doubleheader at its home park since the 1999 NCAA Tournament. Arkansas had not lost both games of a doubleheader to one team since Tennessee swept a twinbill in 1996. The series loss in Fayetteville was the first time in a span of nine three-game weekends that Arkansas had lost a set at Baum Stadium.
The Wildcats extended their lead in the SEC standings with the series win, owning the best start to a season and the best start to a conference slate in school history. The Wildcats have opened up the first half of SEC play with series wins over No. 2 South Carolina, at Tennessee, at No. 18 Georgia and at No. 9 Arkansas. UK start in the first half of conference play is a staggering accomplishment, as the Wildcats won the league in 2006 with an 8-7 start to league action.
UK now boasts a staggering 11-2 record in one-run games in 2012, with both its losses coming in series-openers on the road at top-20 foes. UK also owns a 9-4 record against top-25 teams, with all but one loss on the year coming to a ranked opponent.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Littrell (6-0) worked 6.1 innings, allowing eight hits and one run, walking one and striking out three. The quality start was his sixth of the year and the 10th of his two-year career. Littrell's clutch outing was his fourth consecutive series finale rubber-match victory, as the lefty has won vs. UT, Georgia, Ole Miss and Arkansas in pressure-laden finales. He was relieved in the seventh inning by Tim Peterson, who got UK out of a one-out jam with a runner in scoring position.
Peterson, who worked two innings for his first career save in game one, worked one inning, allowing one hit and one walk, before senior Alex Phillips got a crucial out in the eighth inning with a strikeout. Trevor Gott replaced Phillips with two runners on base and two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, retiring all four hitters he faced for his eighth save of the season. Gott's eighth save of 2012 is now tied for the most saves in UK single-season history, equaling the eight saves Paul Morse notched in 1993.
Flynn's blast was all the offense UK needed behind Littrell, as the rightfielder belted his team-leading ninth homer of the year in the fourth inning. Freshman A.J. Reed recorded UK's lone multi-hit game with a 2-for-4 outing, with Thomas McCarthy, Zac Zellers and Michael Williams each notching hits.
Arkansas (25-10, 8-7 SEC) starter DJ Baxendale (6-2) worked eight strong inning, allowing six hits and two runs, walking two and striking out seven. Colby Suggs worked the finale frame for Arkansas.
The Wildcats got on the board with some two-out hitting in the top of the fourth inning, as McCarthy led off the frame with a double down the opposite-field line, his 13th double of 2012. After a pair of outs, Flynn launched a two-out, two-run homer over the rightfield wall, sailing into the stiff wind blowing straight in from rightfield. The homer was Flynn's team-high tying ninth of the year.
Arkansas got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Dominic Ficociello led off with a single through the right side, taking second on a wild pitch during Matt Reynolds' at bat. After Littrell got an infield pop-up of Reynolds and a groundout of Jimmy Bosco, pinch hitter Brian Anderson checked into the game. Anderson ripped a line drive at Riddle, UK's 6-foot-3 second baseman, with Riddle leaping high into the air and getting the ball in his glove, with the ball bouncing out after his feet landed on the infield dirt, with the ball going as a RBI single.
GAME NOTES: Cameron Flynn hit his team-leading ninth homer of the year in the fourth inning ... Zac Zellers stole his fourth base of the year ... Thomas McCarthy recorded his 13th double of the year ... Corey Littrell tossed his sixth quality start of 2012 and the 10th of his two-year career ... Trevor Gott recorded his eighth save of the year, evening him for the most saves in UK baseball single-season history ... UK's series win in Fayetteville was just the second in program history and the first since 2000 ... UK is now 11-2 in one-run games and 12-2 in one or two-run games in 2012 ... The Wildcats have a 9-4 record against top-25 foes in 2012 ... Gott's 10 career saves in his two seasons ranks tied for seventh-best in UK career history ... UK's doubleheader sweep at Arkansas was the first sweep the Razorbacks had allowed at Baum Stadium in a twinbill since Southern Miss and Clemson ended Arkansas' 1999 season ... Arkansas had not lost both games of a doubleheader to one team since the 1996 season, falling to Tennessee ... UK's series win at Baum Stadium snapped Arkansas' streak of nine consecutive series wins at home.