FAYETTEVILLE – Sophomore Jacob House entered the Razorback baseball team’s game with Kansas on Wednesday evening as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and delivered not once but twice including a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th to lead No. 21 Arkansas to a 9-8 victory over Kansas at Baum Stadium.
House’s first at bat came in the bottom of the eighth with Arkansas down 7-5 and two runners on base. The Mansfield, Texas, native delivered a shot to the first baseman which took a wicked hop over the player and into right field to score the first of what would be three runs in the inning which gave the Hogs an 8-7 lead.
Tied again at eight in the 10th, House again stepped to the plate with one out and no one on base and on a 1-0 pitch crushed a pitch that went well wide of the foul pole to make it a 1-1 count. A strike and two foul balls later, House cot the pitch he wanted and sent it into the visitor’s bullpen for the game-winning hit.
“Jacob came in there and did a good job,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “He got a pitch to hit and rove in a run a couple of innings earlier. When he went down and hit that slider on the line and took out that maintenance building, I figured that they were going to try to bust him in with a fastball. The pitcher threw a changeup and Jacob just kept his hands back and just whipped it out of the park. I didn’t know how close it was to getting out, but when I saw Jacob celebrating I knew this game was finally over.
“I was really proud of our team with the way they battled back. I didn’t know if we were going to win the game going win the game even going into the top of the 9th, but I know we got better tonight and that’s what I wanted to see. We needed to win this game tonight because we lost last night and didn’t want to lose two games in a row. With good teams, you don’t lose back-to-back games. They nickel and dimed us with a couple of flair hits, then they made a legit double down the line and it looked like it was going to break our back. But I told our guys that we have a lot of game left with a lot of at-bats with good hitters. It was definitely a team win.”
Kansas jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the second off starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. A five-hit inning for the Jayhawks was capped by a two-out double off the bat of leadoff hitter Nick Faunce. Keuchel would settle in after the rough inning and leave the game with a no decision after throwing six innings and striking out a season best six batters with 82 pitches.
The Razorbacks would help their starter by scrapping together two runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings on a two-RBI single by Scott Lyons in the fifth and a two-run opposite field home run by Andy Wilkins in the sixth.
Tied heading into the seventh, Kansas would score two off Arkansas reliever Justin Wells, the first runs he has allowed this season, and again regain the lead, 6-4. Four straight hits with two outs gave the Jayhawks their second lead of the game.
Arkansas would get one back in the bottom of the inning on a RBI single by Collin Kuhn which scored Chase Leavitt who had doubled to lead off the inning. The Leavitt double was his third hit of the game and improved the senior’s average to .450 for the season.
Desperate to get a sweep of the Razorbacks, Kansas would score another run in the eighth to make it a 7-5 game, but the resilient Hogs hit Kansas reliever Travis Blankenship up for three runs to take their first lead. With one out, Andy Wilkins, 2-4 in the game, drew a walk. Andrew Darr would get hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second leading to House’s first hit which scored Wilkins. A safety squeeze by Lyons scored Arkansas’ second run and after an intentional walk to Leavitt, Kuhn would deliver his second hit of the day, a single through the left side which scored the go-ahead run.
Kansas tied the game with a two-out rally in the top of the ninth off reliever Stephen Richards. A two-out single was followed by a strike out wild pitch which placed runners on first and second. A pinch hit single by Kansas’ Brett Lisher tied the game again, this time at eight which led the way for House’s 10th inning heroics.
Arkansas’ season continues at Baum Stadium on Friday when the Hogs welcome the Western Illinois Leathernecks. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.