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Diamond Hogs punish Missouri for errors, win series

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Arkansas senior center fielder Braydon Webb broke Sunday’s rubber match against the Missouri Tigers wide open with a two-out, two-run double, giving the Razorbacks a 6-2 lead, which they held onto for an eventual 6-4 series-clinching victory.

For the second straight game, the Hogs had to play from behind. After they failed to convert with two runners in scoring position and one out in the second inning, Missouri first baseman Luke Mann put them in a 2-0 hole with a long fly ball that somehow cut through the wind for a home run.

Through two frames, Razorback starter Jaxon Wiggins had allowed three hits and a walk, but the sophomore right-hander settled in to throw one of his best outings of the season. For the first time in his career, he pitched into the eighth inning after surrendering just two baserunners between the third and seventh frames.

The Hogs knotted the score at two runs apiece in the fourth inning after loading the bases with one out. Senior shortstop Jalen Battles drove in the first run with a single up the middle, and junior left fielder Zack Gregory walked to bring home the second.

Neither team could muster much offense in the fifth and sixth innings, but once again, a four-spot in the seventh made the difference in the game. Two errors, an infield single that could have resulted in an out and a balk gave the Hogs a two-run lead, and Webb doubled it with his second late-inning extra-base hit of the series.

Wiggins ran into trouble in the eighth, walking the leadoff batter and hitting the next, rapidly approaching the 100-pitch plateau. After his eighth strikeout, he allowed his fourth hit, an RBI single that made it a 6-3 game. Freshman righty Brady Tygart entered the game with runners on the corners and one out, and nearly had an inning-ending double play. Right fielder Carlos Pena beat out a grounder to second to cut the lead to two runs, but Tygart induced a soft liner to second to avoid further damage.

Tygart shut the door in the ninth with a groundout and a pair of looking strikeouts to earn his fourth save of the season.

UALR will visit Fayetteville for a pair of midweek games Tuesday and Wednesday before the reigning national champion Mississippi State Bulldogs come to town for a three-game set starting Friday. The midweeks will stream live on the SEC Network+, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.

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