Arkansas Holds Off No. 21 Long Beach State for
BY ANDRES FOCIL
Long Beach, Calif. – Arkansas jumped out to a 5-2 lead over the 21st-ranked Long Beach State 49ers and hung on for a dramatic 5-3 victory to salvage a win after dropping the first two games of the series.
The Razorbacks improved to 5-3, while the 49ers dropped to 6-3 with loss.
Arkansas starter Gary Hogan, Jr., moved to 1-0 after a pair of no decisions in two previous starts. After getting off to a rocky start, Hogan settled down to retire the side in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings before allowing an unearned run in the sixth. Hogan was finally chased in the bottom of the seventh after going six and two-thirds allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits with two strikeouts, one walk, one wild pitch and three hit batters.
Scott Woods relieved Hogan in the seventh and pitched the eighth and retired one batter in the ninth before allowing a double and single with one out in the inning. Jarrett Gardner came in and pitched out of a one-out bases loaded jam with a pair of strikeouts for his second save of the season.
Jered Weaver went six and one-third innings allowing five runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk to fall to 0-2 on the year for Long Beach State.
The Razorbacks took their first lead of the series with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Cliff Crouse reached on an infield single, then stole second base. After Andrew Wishy walked, Michael Conner doubled in the gap to left-center to plate Crouse. Nick Pitts picked up his second RBI of the series with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Wishy to give the Hogs a 2-0 lead.
The 49ers answered, however, with two runs in their half of the first inning. Jeremy Reed was hit by a pitch and scored on Mike Hofius’ single deep in the hole to short for the first run. Todd Jennings, who singled to left, scored the tying run with two outs in the inning on a delayed steal. Hofius attempted to steal second and Jennings came in to score during the rundown. Hofius was tagged out at second to end the inning.
Arkansas regained the lead with three runs in the top of the fourth. Conner led off with double to shallow left and moved to third on a bunt single by Pitts. After Pitts stole second, Clay Goodwin grounded out to shortstop to score Conner and move Pitts to third. Scott Bridges then placed a drag bunt down the first base line that scored Pitts to give the Razorbacks a 4-2 lead.
Aaron Graves doubled to left with two outs and scored on Luke Weatherford’s double down the third base line for a 5-2 lead over the 49ers.
Long Beach scratched out a run in the bottom of the sixth when Jennings reached on a throwing error by Scott Bridges and advanced to second as the ball sailed into the dugout. Jennings then moved to third on a wild pitch by Hogan and scored on a sacrifice fly by Wright to cut the Arkansas lead to 5-3.
The Razorbacks missed a chance at an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning. Back-to-back singles by Conner and Pitts put runners on the corners with only one down. Clay Goodwin then fouled out to third near the Razorback bullpen. Conner tagged up and broke for home, but was gunned down at the plate on a close play to end the inning.
The win over the 21st-ranked 49ers was the first for the Razorbacks over a ranked opponent on the road since a 14-1 win over Tennessee in Knoxville on April 22 last season.
The Hogs return to action Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Baum Stadium with a 3 p.m. game against Missouri Valley College. ARSN goes on the air at 2:40 with Chuck Barrett and Rick Schaeffer calling the action.
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