Razorbacks fall to Florida, begin preparations for regionals

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The Southeastern Conference will not have a repeat champion this year, as last year’s winner bows out after a long week in Hoover.

Arkansas’ second game at the SEC Tournament would be their last, as the Razorbacks fell to Florida, 7-5 on Friday. A three-run 9th inning was not enough to erase an early lead by the Gators.

Down 7-2 entering the final inning, Arkansas scored three runs to trim Florida’s lead to two runs. Jalen Battles scored on a passed ball, and two more runs scored on a blast to left-center field by Braydon Webb with two outs in the inning. Cayden Wallace was the third out of the inning, as he grounded out to 2nd base to close the game.

After moving to the losers bracket thanks to a run-rule loss to Texas A&M on Thursday, Florida jumped out to a quick five-run lead on Arkansas before the Razorbacks could respond.

Florida’s Jac Caglianone grabbed the Gators’ first three runs of the game. In the 2nd inning, Caglianone singled up the middle to score Jud Fabian and Ty Evans to give Florida the 2-0 lead. In the 5th inning, Caglianone joined Colby Halter to hit solo home runs in the inning. BT Riopelle plated a run on a double that extended the lead to 5-0.

Arkansas gained some momentum in the top of the 6th when Cayden Wallace and Michael Turner led off the inning with back-to-back home runs, but Florida responded by scoring two more runs in the bottom of the inning, one on a solo home run by Fabian, and an RBI single by Halter.

Turner was the only Razorback to pick up multiple hits, while Webb led the team in RBI with two. Connor Noland took the loss for Arkansas, going 4.2 innings in the start, striking out five batters while allowing five earned runs on six hits.

Next up for Arkansas is the regional round of the NCAA Tournament, which begins next weekend. As of now, D1Baseball projects Arkansas as the no. 2 seed in the Austin Regional, hosted by Texas.

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