FAYETTEVILLE – Sophomore Brett Eibner continues to play his best baseball as he hit two home runs and won the game with a bases loaded walk, leading the No. 7 Arkansas Razorback baseball team to an 8-7 victory over the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners in 10 innings at Baum Stadium on Tuesday night.
Eibner hit his first home run in the second inning, a towering shot to right field and as exciting as that was for the fans, he would save his dramatics for later. With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Arkansas down by two, Eibner would hit his second home run into the Arkansas bullpen drawing huge cheers from the 8,212 in attendance and tie the game at seven. An inning later he would work an 0-2 count into a bases loaded walk after fouling off six pitches with two strikes to win the game.
"This was a good win for us,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “I told the team after Sunday’s game that it was a win that could take them a long way and that carried over to today.”
It was a see-saw game as there were three lead changes and two ties over the 10 innings. Oklahoma would score first but Eibner’s first home run gave the Razorbacks their first lead in the second. The Sooners would regain the lead in the third, but a Zack Cox home run tied the game in the fourth. Oklahoma took another lead in the eighth and extended it in the ninth, but Eibner tied the game for a second time in the bottom of the ninth and won it with his walk in the 10th.
Arkansas pounded out nine hits against Oklahoma’s pitching including three off the Sooner’s closer Ryan Duke who entered the contest in the ninth with 10 saves on the season under his belt. Duke would retire the first batter he faced, but a costly walk to Collin Kuhn opened the door for Eibner’s game-tying home run in the ninth. The home run led to the first blown save of the season for Duke.
For the Razorbacks, Cox also took the mound in the ninth and after giving up a leadoff home run he would throw two innings to earn the win and set up the extra-inning fireworks.
The Arkansas half of the 10th began with a leadoff error by the Oklahoma shortstop. A rocket of a single by Andy Wilkins followed and with runners on the corners the Sooners intentionally walked Tim Carver to load the bases with no outs. Cox had a chance to win the game at the plate but his line drive was speared by a diving second baseman in what was one of several highlight reel plays by both squads. A strikeout later and the makings of a 10th-inning win seemed questionable. Eibner then fell behind 0-2 before working the game-ending walk.
Somewhat surprising for the Razorbacks was the excellence of its pitching. The Hogs were committed using several pitchers that had not seen action in some time. Junior Bryan Bingham started the game and threw two innings before giving way to Christian Kowalchuk (1.2), Jeremy Heatley (1.1), Scott Limbocker (1.1), Mike Bolsinger (1.2) and finally Cox (2.0). Arkansas’ six pitchers combined to allow just 11 Oklahoma hits and seven earned runs.
At the plate, Arkansas got multi-hit games from Eibner, Wilkins and Cox who each had two. Leavitt, Scott Lyons and Tom Hauskey also had hits for the Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks are back in action on Friday night when they take on the LSU Tigers at Baum Stadium at 6:35 p.m. in a pivotal Southeastern Conference showdown. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.