Arkansas knocks out Florida in SEC tourney semifinal

Florida pitcher Brady Singer is relieved by coach Kevin O’Sullivan during the second inning Saturday against Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament in Hoover, Ala. Singer gave up seven hits, three of them home runs, two walks and eight runs against just 11 batters. The Associated Press

HOOVER, Ala. — It was mercy-rule semifinal Saturday at the SEC baseball tournament for two of the league’s best programs over the past decade.

In the day’s first semifinal, LSU routed South Carolina 11-0 in seven innings. And in the second semis, also in seven innings, Arkansas pounded top-seeded Florida 16-0.

Four seed Arkansas (42-16) will play second seed LSU (42-17) at 3 p.m. Sunday for the tourney championship.

Florida (42-16), the SEC regular-season champion, jets home to rest and await the NCAA Baseball Tournament Selection Show at noon Monday on ESPN2. Host sites will be announced Sunday night.

“We have to credit Arkansas, they can swing the bats really well,” UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “It’s the first time Brady (Singer) has been hit like that the whole year. Credit their hitters, they did a really nice job.

“We fell behind early and it was hard for us to play catch-up. It was just one of those games that got away from us early.”

It was a rough start for Singer (7-4). He gave up five runs on four hits, including Chad Spanberger’s two-run blast, while throwing 39 pitches in the first inning.

It was more of the same in the second inning for Singer, who allowed back-to-back home runs to Eric Cole, a two-run shot, and Spanberger again, his fifth in the tourney, for an 8-0 Razorback lead. Nate Brown then took over on the mound for the Gators.

Arkansas made it 10-0 in the fourth inning when Dominic Fletcher hit a two-run home run off Andrew Baker, who took over in the third inning.

RBI singles from Fletcher and Jax Biggers and a wild pitch made it 14-0 Arkansas in the fifth.
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