Hagen Smith stellar as No. 2 Arkansas edges Florida in series opener

A sacrifice fly by Jared Sprague-Lott in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 1-1 tie, and No. 2 Arkansas defeated Florida in a 2-1 series-opening victory in SEC play Friday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The win was the 26th straight at home for the Razorbacks (36-6 overall, 15-4 SEC), one shy of tying the school record set in 1984-85 for consecutive home victories.

Hagen Smith continued his dominance in SEC play with another stellar start. Smith pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, allowing just one unearned run while striking out 11 batters in a no-decision. He retired 17 straight batters at one point and lowered his ERA to 1.35 for the season.

With his 11 punchouts, Smith surpassed 300 strikeouts in his career and rose to second on Arkansas’ all-time strikeout list behind only Nick Schmidt.

Gabe Gaeckle (3-2) pitched two innings in relief to pick up his third win.

Offense was hard to come by for either team all night. Arkansas scored first off Florida starter Pierce Coppola in the second inning when Ryder Helfrick launched the game’s only home run to deep left field. The two-out solo shot was Helfrick’s third of the season.

Florida (21-20, 8-11) scored its only run in the seventh by way of a throwing error before the Razorbacks reclaimed the lead for good in the eighth.

Both teams were held to just three hits apiece.

The series will resume Saturday with a scheduled doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m. CDT. The first game of the doubleheader can be seen on ESPN2.

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire