COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Arkansas connected for a season-high four home runs in a come-from-behind 8-6 win over Ohio State in the final game of the Domino’s Pizza Aggie Classic on Sunday afternoon in front of 421 fans at Olsen Field.
The Razorbacks finished the tournament with a 2-1 mark and improved to 6-1 on the season. The Buckeyes went 1-2 in College Station and fall to 4-2 on the season.
The Diamond Hogs’ bullpen was impressive again on Sunday, allowing just one run over seven innings. Cliff Springston took over with a runner on second base in the third inning and promptly surrendered a RBI single, but that was just about all the Buckeyes could muster off the hard-throwing southpaw. Springston retired 12-straight OSU hitters from the last batter of the fourth inning through the first two batters of the eighth.
Ohio State did get to Springston in the eighth inning for a run on two hits with a RBI triple off the bat of Zach Hurley highlighting the inning. He faced one batter in the ninth, giving up a single, before right-hander Travis Hill came on in relief.
Springston improved to 2-0 on the season, allowing just one run on five hits over six innings. He fanned three and did not walk a batter on an efficient 66 pitches. Hill notched his third save of the season, allowing one hit in the ninth, but inducing Cory Rupert to line out to Tim Smalling at shortstop for a game-ending unassisted double play.
J.B. Shuck (1-1) worked 5.0 innings and threw 101 pitches in the loss. He surrendered six runs on eight hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Shaun Seibert made his second start of the season for Arkansas as he continues his return from Tommy John surgery just under a year ago. He worked two batters into the third inning and allowed five runs – three earned – on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Aaron Murphree gave the Razorbacks their first lead, 6-5, since the first inning with a two-run opposite field home run with two outs in the fifth inning. He followed that with his second home run of the game in the seventh inning, a two-run shot that put UA on top 8-5.
Murphree and Casey Coon paced the Hogs nine-hit attack with two hits apiece. Murphree’s two home runs on the day gave him three for the weekend and four on the season. He also drove in four runs. Ryan Cisterna also added his second home run of the weekend with two RBI and Chase Leavitt added a home run as well.
Arkansas staked Seibert to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. The Hogs hammered out four hits in the inning, including a leadoff home run by right fielder Leavitt. Andy Wilkins followed with a one-out double over the center fielder’s head was chased home by fellow freshman Jacob House with a single up the middle. The leadoff home run from Leavitt was the first for a Hog since Jake Dugger lead off the bottom of the first inning of the 2007 SEC Championship Game vs. Vanderbilt.
As opponents have done all weekend, the Buckeyes came right back and took the lead at 3-2. Dan Burkhart plated the first run with a ground ball to shortstop the Scott Lyons threw away. Cory Rupert then followed with a two-out, two-RBI single to center field.
OSU jumped on Seibert again in the top of the third inning and was chased from the game after hitting the leadoff batter, uncorking a wild pitch and giving up a RBI double down the third-base line. The Buckeyes took a 4-2 lead on the double before Cliff Springston allowed a RBI single to the first hitter he faced as State opened up a 5-2 lead. But the southpaw settled down and retired the next two hitters in order and Ryan Cisterna gunned down a base stealer at second.
Arkansas began the comeback in the bottom of the fourth inning with Cisterna’s second home run of the weekend. He connected with a Shuck offering and deposited a two-run shot well over the left-center field wall.
The Razorbacks begin a five-game home stand on Tuesday at 3:05 p.m. against South Dakota State. UA play SDSU again at 3:05 p.m. on Wednesday before hosting a three-game set with Siena over the weekend.