Arkansas Rips Air Force 18-1; Conner, Wishy an
BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arlington, Texas. – The Arkansas Razorbacks blew open a close ballgame by scoring 11 runs in two innings in routing Air Force 18-1 in the first game of the UTA/Dallas Morning News Invitational Friday afternoon.
The Hogs improved to 3-0 on the season, while the Falcons dropped to 6-2. Arkansas starter Jonathan Richmond (2-0) earned the win after pitching 5.2 innings allowing one run on five hits while striking out two and walking one.
The Razorbacks wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard as Cliff Crouse took Matt Kaercher’s 1-1 offering over the right field fence for his second home run of the year to give the Hogs a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Arkansas added to its lead in the bottom of the third inning. Scott Bridges reached on an infield single and advanced to second on Kirk McConnell’s sacrifice bunt. After Crouse struck out, Andrew Wishy hit a hard grounder back up the middle to bring home Bridges and give the Hogs a 2-0 advantage.
The Razorbacks upped their lead to 4-0 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Nick Pitts led off the inning with a walk and scored on a double by Clay Goodwin. Goodwin then scored on a balk by Air Force pitcher Matt Kaercher.
The Hogs plated another run in the bottom of the fifth after Wishy doubled home McConnell who reached on a bunt single.
The Falcons scored their only run of the game in the top of the sixth inning when Adam Howes doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Daniel Petro to cut the deficit to 5-1.
The Razorbacks erased any chance of a close game as they put up six runs in the bottom half of the inning. Cody Clark led off with a single and scored on Michael Conner’s two-run homer to left. Conner replaced Crouse in center, who moved to left, and ripped the first pitch he saw well over the left field fence. Scott Bridges would later score on a throwing error by the pitcher to make it an 8-1 lead.
Andrew Wishy picked up his third RBI on his second double of the game that scored Brett Hagedorn who replaced Luke Weatherford at second base. Ryan Fox brought Wishy around to score on his first double of the season to give the Hogs a 10-1 advantage. Fox then scored on a ground out by Nick Pitts to give Arkansas a commanding 11-1 lead.
The Razorbacks continued the offensive explosion with five runs in the bottom of the seventh as Conner, Bridges, Hagedorn, Crouse and Fox each scored in the inning. Conner blasted his second home run of the day over the left-centerfield fence for the first run of the inning.
Arkansas held a 16-1 lead before adding two more runs in the seventh to make it an 18-1 game. Conner just missed his third home run of the day as he launched a pitch over the left field fence that drifted foul. Conner eventually lined out to third to finish the game 2-for-3 with three RBI.
Wishy went 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBI and scored a run, while Crouse went 2-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored. Fox also had three hits on the afternoon to go with three runs batted in and two runs scored. In all, eight different Razorbacks drove in a run, while 12 different Razorbacks had at least one hit on the day.
The Hogs’ 18 runs is the highest total since scoring 20 runs against Georgia on March 17, 2001. The 19 hits is the best since racking up 21 hits in a 16-11 victory over Kentucky on April 28, 2001.
Arkansas will take on the Southwest Missouri State Bears on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ARSN will go on the air at 11:10 a.m. with Rick Schaeffer calling the action. Fans can also listen to the game via the internet at www.sports.yahoo.com/m/ncaabb.
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