GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Arkansas pitchers Randall Fant, Brandon Moore and Barrett Astin combined to allow one unearned run, while Dominic Ficociello went 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored as the 21st-ranked Razorbacks defeated No. 5 Florida, 5-1, on Saturday night at McKethan Stadium.
The Razorbacks improve to 30-13 overall and 10-10 in Southeastern Conference play, while the Gators fall to 33-11 and 12-8 in conference play.
Brandon Moore (4-1) was outstanding out of the bullpen en route to earning the win. Moore pitched five shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out two.
Barrett Astin closed the door in the ninth by tossing a hitless inning.
Fant started on the mound for Arkansas and was effective in his three innings of work. Fant gave up an unearned run on six hits and struck out four in three innings.
Florida starter Brian Johnson (5-3) suffered the loss. Johnson gave up five runs on eight hits with six strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
The Razorback offense pounded out 10 hits in the win. Ficociello had a team-high two hits with a RBI and a run scored in the victory. Jimmy Bosco, Michael Gunn and Matt Reynolds also had a hit and a RBI.
Mike Zunino had three hits to lead Florida at the plate. Brian Johnson went 2-for-4 with the only RBI of the game for the Gators.
Arkansas struck first, scoring a run in the top of the third. With one out, Joe Serrano singled into right field and advanced to second after Tim Carver was hit by a pitch. After a strike out of Jacob Mahan, Ficociello lined a single to left field to score Serrano and give the Razorbacks the lead.
Florida tied the game with a run in the home half of the third. Daniel Pigott reached on an error by Ficociello to lead off the inning. A base hit to center field by Preston Tucker advanced Pigott to second. After Zunino was unable to advance the runners on the sacrifice bunt attempt, Johnson lined a single off Ficociello's glove and into right field to score Pigott. Maddox then singled into center field. Tucker attempted to score from second, but a great throw by Jacob Morris and a nice pick at the plate by John Clay Reeves retired Tucker at home to keep the game tied.
The Razorbacks regained the lead with a four-run fifth. Carver began the inning with a single and then moved to second after a ground out to first by Mahan. A base hit to left by Ficociello advanced Carver to third and after a fielding error by the Florida left fielder, Carver was able to cross home plate to put Arkansas in front. Ficociello then stole second and came in to score on a base hit to left-center field by Reynolds. Bigham reached on a bunt single down the third base line. Reynolds, who was running on the play, was able to advance all the way to third to put runners at the corners with one out. Bosco continued the hit parade with a pinch hit infield single to second to score Reynolds and move Bigham to second. After Morris fouled out to third for the second out of the inning, Gunn came through with a clutch pinch hit single into center field to score Bigham and put Arkansas in front 5-1.
The four runs in the fifth were the last runs scored by either team in the contest. Florida was able to put two runners on with one out in the home half of the ninth before Astin retired two batters in a row to seal the Arkansas win.
Arkansas and Florida play the rubber game of the three-game series tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. Junior right hander DJ Baxendale (6-2, 3.78) will pitch for the Razorbacks, while the Gators will counter with sophomore righty Jonathon Crawford (4-1, 3.86). The series finale will be televised by ESPN.