FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the third-straight day the Arkansas baseball team fell behind early to Horizon League favorite Wright State but the outcome was the same as the Diamond Hogs completed the sweep with a 7-3 win at Baum Stadium.
The crowd of 1,912 watched the Raiders score one run in the first inning and another single tally in the top of the fifth inning to take a 2-0 lead. But the Razorbacks rallied with one run in the fifth inning, two in sixth and a four-run outburst in the seventh inning.
“It was an overall better day for us today,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “Our older guys gained a lot of confidence, which is what we need at this point. We never felt like we were going to lose the game. They [Wright State] didn’t give us a lot to hit, but we were able to chip away every inning.”
The win improves the Hogs’ record to 3-0 while the Raiders fall to 0-3. Arkansas will have Monday off before hosting Southeast Missouri State at 3:05 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, and Kansas at 3:05 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27.
Aaron Murphree once again paced the Hogs’ 11-hit attack at the plate with three hits in four at bats, including two RBI and two doubles. Logan Forsythe went 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored.
Murphree doubled to lead off the fifth inning and came around to score on Andrew Darr’s single. He then chased two more runs home in the sixth with a two-RBI double into the left-center field gap to give the Hogs at 3-2 lead. Murphree finished the weekend with a .600 batting average, six RBI, three doubles and a home run.
After Wright State tied the game in the top of the seventh on John Kopilchack’s single up the middle, Arkansas exploded for four runs in the bottom half of the inning to put the game away. Freshman Andy Wilkins continued his opening-weekend rampage through the Raiders’ pitching with a two-RBI single through the right side of the infield. Fellow freshman Jacob House then ripped a two-RBI double into the right-center field gap two batters later.
The Razorbacks received outstanding efforts from all four pitchers as Wright State managed just five hits for the game. Kendall Korbal started and threw four-strong innings, allowing just one hit and one run while fanning four. One of the few blemishes on the day for Korbal was a pitch that got away in the fourth inning and hit WSU shortstop Justin Parker in the jaw. Parker was taken to the hospital for x-rays that revealed a broken jaw.
After a solid inning of relief work by Evan Cox, freshman right-hander Brett Eibner moved from center field to the mound and dominated the Raiders for three innings. Eibner allowed just three hits and one run while striking out four. He also drew two walks at the plate and scored a run.
“We don’t want to wear Brett [Eibner] out,” Van Horn said. “He can run, throw, hit and has some power. When we recruited him, we told him that we were going to use him everywhere. And he didn’t want to put the bat down, which is great for us.”
Chad Pierce pitched the final frame for the Razorbacks and retired the side in order. Jon Durket took the loss for WSU, allowing four runs on four hits in one-third of an inning.
Download: Wright State – 2.24 – AR03.pdf