FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Kevin Kopps’ otherworldly season continues.
The right-hander was once again magnificent out of the bullpen, tossing 4.1 scoreless innings with five strikeouts to lift No. 1 Arkansas to a 5-3 Mother’s Day win against Georgia on Sunday afternoon at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Arkansas has won all eight of its SEC series this season and is now 36-9 overall on the year, including 17-7 in conference play. The Razorbacks sit alone atop the Western Division, owning a one-game lead ahead of second-place Mississippi State after the Bulldogs’ extra-inning loss to South Carolina this afternoon.
The Hogs fell behind by three runs in the top of the third inning, setting the stage for yet another dramatic come-from-behind victory. Jalen Battles’ two-RBI single in the bottom of the fifth was Arkansas’ first breakthrough against Georgia starter Ryan Webb.
Trailing by a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, Matt Goodheart stepped up to the plate with two outs and blasted a solo home run to center. His team-leading 12th homer of the year tied the ballgame, 3-3.
Battles came up clutch again one inning later. The slick-handed shortstop launched the go-ahead home run, swatting a leadoff shot over the wall in dead center to put Arkansas ahead, 4-3.
Christian Franklin’s RBI single later in the frame extended the lead to two, shifting momentum and putting the Razorbacks in total control of the ballgame.
By then, starter Caleb Bolden, who struck out three while allowing three runs in 2.1 innings of work, had turned the game over to Arkansas’ bullpen. Caden Monke (2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K) and Kopps (4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K) silenced Georgia the rest of the way.
Kopps, the reigning NCBWA National Player of the Month for April, worked a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to secure the win and clinch Arkansas’ program-record eighth consecutive SEC series win.
For the year, Kopps now owns a nation-best 0.72 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 49.2 innings of relief work.
The Razorbacks get right back to it this coming Tuesday, May 11, hosting local foe Arkansas State in the final midweek game of the season. First pitch at Baum-Walker Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+.