By (Cody Estremera)

Just one game after giving up seven runs and 17 hits, Alabama sent out sophomore pitcher Dylan Duarte. Duarte delivered with the best start of his Alabama career.

Duarte dominated the No. 20 Arkansas Razorbacks. He 8.1 innings, which was a new career high for the southpaw. He only gave up one off six hits, with the run coming back in the second inning coming off a single by the Razorback designated hitter, Jaxon Williams. He also threw 116 pitches, which was also another career high.

“I went back in the locker room and tried to focus in,” Duarte said. “I knew it was going to be a grind so I had to get my mind right between innings. It was really just coach calling a good game and I just tried to pitch to his calls.”

Davis Vainer came into pitch the last two outs of the game. He finished going 0.2 innings with a pair of strikeouts.

Arkansas’ pitching was the opposite of Friday night’s win. On Friday starter Blaine Knight went eight innings and allowed just one run off three hits. Saturday’s starter, Trevor Stephan, recorded just four outs in the loss. He finished giving up four runs off four hits in his 1.1 innings of work.

Alabama’s offense, which was dormant last night, exploded for seven runs and 10 hits. It scored all seven runs in the second and the fifth innings.

“I like big innings, I don’t care how we get them [runs],” head coach Greg Goff said. “It’s the first time we’ve had to give our pitchers a chance to relax. It was really good to get a big inning early.”

Alabama fell behind in the second inning after Williams’ RBI single. The Crimson Tide offense responded by scoring four runs in the bottom of the frame.

Hunter Alexander started the second inning with a double down the left field line. He came into score two pitches later coming off a single by Cody Henry. After a walk to Tanner DeVinny, Connor Short provided the go-ahead and eventual winning run. He doubled down the left field line, but just missed a home run by a couple of inches. Henry would score moving DeVinny to third. Logan Carey singled in Short, followed by Cobie Vance, who grounded out to second, but scored a run in the process for the final run of the inning.

After two straight innings of zeros, Alabama would strike for three runs in the fifth.

Chandler Avant started the inning off by singling to left field. He would advance to second on an error by first baseman Jordan McFarland. He then moved to third of a groundout by designated hitter Kyle Kaufman. With Avant on third, Alexander singled to right field, followed by a single by Henry. DeVinny would later single in Alexander for the second run of the inning. Henry would come into score on a wild pitch for the final run of the game.

“We tried to sit on one pitch,” Alexander said. “We have the momentum, and they know that we are better than the three hits we had last night.”

Alabama will look to win the series on Sunday as senior Nick Eicholtz gets the start. First pitch is at 3 p.m.

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports