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Wood’s first SEC start lands Hogs another SEC West title

Solid pitching throughout and some timely hitting for a change, but Dave Van Horn isn’t celebrating anything right now.

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Another year, another SEC West title for Arkansas. For Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn there’s no reason to be celebrating much of anything because he has bigger goals for this team that don’t end in Texas.

The Hogs captured the division championship in a comeback win over the No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies, 6-3, on Friday night in Blue Bell Park. It’s the ninth SEC West title in program history and their fifth in the last six full seasons. Here lately, it’s starting to be a regular thing.

Gage Wood threw his longest outing in his second career start on the mound for the Hogs. He pitched five innings in his 20th appearance of the year while allowing three runs (two earned) and seven hits with five strikeouts on a career-high 86 pitches (58 strikes).

Texas A&M got on the board early with one out in the bottom of the first inning after Jace LaViolette reached on a throwing error at second base. Braden Montgomery followed up with a two-run home run to left field to hand the Aggies a 2-0 lead.

Arkansas answered back in the top of the second when Hudson White and Ryder Helfrick reached on singles with one out. Peyton Holt plated White with a single through the left side, while Helfirck advanced to second to cut the lead to one. Jayson Jones and Kendall Diggs both struck out swinging to prevent any further damage. Wehiwa Aloy tied the game in the top of the third with a two-out solo shot to left center for his team-leading 12th home run of the season.

Texas A&M came right back in the bottom of the third with nobody out on an RBI single by LaViolette that drove in Gavin Grahovac to give the Aggies the lead back, 3-2. Ben McLaughlin tied the game back up for the Razorbacks in the top of the sixth with a one-out RBI single to left center to score White from second base, while Peyton Stovall advanced from first to third.

Mason Molina made an appearance out of the bullpen in the bottom of the seventh in relief of Parker Coil, with a runner on first and nobody out. He struck out Grahovac swinging, made LaViolette pop out to second and forced Montgomery to ground out to short.

Arkansas began the top half eighth with a leadoff single by Stovall and a double by Aloy to put runners in scoring position. White left the yard with a three-run home run to left field to give the Hogs their first lead of the night, 6-3.

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