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No. 4 Arkansas walks off with 8-7 win

02/21/2012
Chad Crunk, Athletic Media Relations
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FAYETTEVILLE – Jake Wise drew a game-winning bases loaded walk with two outs in the ninth inning to lift No. 4 Arkansas to an 8-7 win over Northwestern State on Tuesday evening at Baum Stadium.

“It’s baseball, anything can happen but I thought we did a real good job at hanging in there,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We never got down in the dugout and kept talking about putting together a good inning. We knew they had a highly talented closer, a lefty that threw hard. I think that our guys saw the challenge and they went out there and got after it.”

The Razorbacks improve to 4-0 with the comeback win, while Northwestern State is now 1-1 on the year.

With the game tied at eight entering the bottom of the ninth, Arkansas put together a game-winning rally without the benefit of a hit. Jacob Mahan and Dominic Ficociello each drew a walk to start the inning and a groundout to first by Sam Bates moved each runner up to second and third. Reynolds was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out and bring Jake Wise to the plate. Wise jumped ahead in the count 3-1. After fouling off the 3-1 pitch, Wise took ball four off the outside corner to score pinch runner Brian Anderson and give Arkansas the 8-7 win.

Tim Carver and Ficociello led the Razorbacks at the plate. Carver tied a career-high with three hits in four plate appearances. Carver drove home a run in the bottom of the eighth to put Arkansas in front and also scored once. Ficociello drove in two runs and went 2-for-4 at the plate. Wise also had a multi-RBI performance, driving in two runs.

Ray Frias was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate for the Demons, scoring two runs and driving in one. Nick Hinojos also added three hits and a RBI, while Matt Burns went 2-for-5 with a run scored.

Nolan Sanburn (1-0) picked up the win for Arkansas, giving up a run on two hits with a strikeout in an inning of work.

Fabian Roman (0-1) took the loss for Northwestern State after walking both batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth.

Neither starter registered in the decision. Arkansas starter Brandon Moore allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits in 3.1 innings, while Northwestern State starter Colin Bear tossed 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on four hits.

Cade Lynch and Trent Daniel each threw well out of the Razorback bullpen. Lynch tossed three innings in relief and allowed two runs, while striking out four. Daniel pitched 1.2 scoreless innings with two strikeouts.

Northwestern State grabbed the early lead with four runs in the top of the second. Matt Baca opened the inning by reaching on a throwing error by Tim Carver and then moved to second on a single by Shaun Hoover. An infield single by Hinojos loaded the bases with nobody out. Drew Helenihi drove in the first run of the game, grounding into a fielder’s choice to first with Hinojos being retired at second. Frias brought in another run with an infield single to short. The Demons went up 3-0 when Moore’s throw to second to try to pick off Helenihi went into center field and allowed him to score. A wild pitch advanced Frias to third and a single past a drawn in infield by Jordan Buckley scored Frias for the fourth run of the inning.

Arkansas got back in the game by scoring three runs with two outs in the third. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, Carver lined an opposite field single to right field for the Razorbacks’ first hit of the game. Carver then stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Bo Bigham drew a walk to put runners at the corners. Mahan scored Carver and advanced Bigham to third on a single to the left-center field gap. Ficociello brought in two runs with a double to left field that was misplayed by the left fielder and went over his head, allowing Bigham and Mahan to score.

The Razorbacks tied the game with a run in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Ficociello singled to right field and moved to second on a two-out walk by Reynolds. Pinch hitter Jimmy Bosco then drew a base on balls to bring up Wise with the bases loaded. For the first time in the game, Wise took a free pass to bring in a run and tie the game at four.

Northwestern State answered with two runs in the top of the seventh. Frias led off the inning with a single. With one out, Frias stole second after Arkansas failed to execute the pickoff and then moved to third on a fielding error by Carver. A wild pitch then scored Frias to put the Demons back in front. Will Watson then drew a walk and stole second. A base hit by Burns put runners at first and third. Pinch hitter Todd Wallace drove in a run on a groundout to short to make it a two-run deficit for the Razorbacks.

Arkansas grabbed its first lead of the game in the bottom of the eighth, scoring three times. Reynolds walked to lead off the inning. Bosco then doubled off the left field wall. A fielding error by the Northwestern State left fielder allowed Reynolds to score all the way from first and cut the lead to one. Bosco advanced to third on a ground out to short by Wise and a double to left field by Morris brought home Bosco with the game-tying run. Carver then sent the first pitch he saw into center field to score Morris and put Arkansas in front 8-7.

The lead was short lived as Northwestern State tied the game in the top of the ninth. Burns started the game-tying rally with a single and then moved to second on a groundout to first by Wallace. After a ground out to third for the second out of the inning, Burns stole third. Ryan Westbrook then drew a walk to put runners at the corners. Hinojos followed by hitting a sinking line drive to right field. Bates attempted to make a sliding catch, but the ball went off of his glove, allowing Burns to score the tying run. Westbrook also tried to score on the play, but he was gunned down at home on a relay from Bates to Ficociello to Wise to end the inning and set up Arkansas’ rally in the bottom of the ninth.

Arkansas and Northwestern State conclude the two-game midweek series on Wednesday at 3:05 p.m. Freshman right hander Greg Milhorn is scheduled to start for the Razorbacks, while sophomore southpaw Andrew Adams will start for the Demons. Single-game tickets for Wednesday’s game are $10 for reserved seats.

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