FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 10 University of Arkansas baseball team completed a midweek sweep of Centenary with a 9-4 win Wednesday afternoon at Baum Stadium. The Razorbacks fell behind by four runs early on but rallied for the club’s seventh consecutive victory, tying the longest streak of the season. James McCann tied a career-high with three hits to go along with a two runs scored and an RBI against the Gents. Brett Eibner was 2-for-4 at the plate with a home run and a team-high three RBI. Eight of Arkansas’ 12 hits went for extra bases.
"I knew today would be a dog fight," head coach Dave Van Horn said. "Whenever you score as many runs as we did yesterday with things going our way, you know you’re going to have a battle on your hands."
The Gents jumped on top with a four-run first inning. Tell Ross drove in the game’s first run with an RBI single to left field. Wednesday’s starting pitcher for the visitors, Michael Tompkins hit a three-run home to help himself and give Centenary the 4-0 lead through its first time at the plate.
After a pair of scoreless innings, the Hogs broke through in the third. McCann led off the frame with a double to left field. He moved over to third on a single by Travis Sample and came in to score on a Tompkins wild pitch. Eibner closed Arkansas’ deficit to one with a two-run home run to left. It was the seventh dinger of the season for Eibner.
Leading off the fourth, Andy Wilkins lined a shot into the gap in right center and pulled into third with his first career triple. Tim Carver, the next hitter up in the lineup, drove in the game-tying run with an RBI groundout to the shortstop.
The Razorbacks took control of the game with a three-run sixth inning. Arkansas got three RBI doubles from Wilkins, McCann and Bo Bigham. The Hogs hit a season-high six doubles Wednesday, five of which drove in a run. Arkansas also tied a season high with eight extra-base hits. At the end of six, the home team led, 7-4.
Arkansas (20-5, 4-2 SEC) added a pair of insurance scores in the seventh inning. Collin Kuhn led off the frame with a single to left field and came around to score on a double by Eibner. Monk Kreder followed with the Hogs’ second RBI double of the inning to plate Eibner. Kreder finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate and has a seven-game hitting streak.
While the offense was fighting back to climb out of its deficit, the Razorback bullpen logged 7.2 innings of one-hit shutout baseball against the Gents to allow for the comeback. Five different relievers combined to keep Centenary (8-12) off the scoreboard in the final eight innings of the game. The Arkansas arms retired the final 10 hitters.
"I knew we’d make a game of it," Van Horn said. "I didn’t know if we were going to win but our bullpen pitchers sure changed that real quick when they came in. That bullpen did a great job today."
For the fourth time in nine days, TJ Forrest found himself in a winning situation on the mound. The right-handed senior worked the fifth and sixth innings and improved to 5-0 this season. Razorback freshman Garrett Methvin made his first career start in Wednesday’s game and lasted 1.1 innings before giving way to Jordan Pratt in the second. Arkansas’ bullpen effort also featured Geoffrey Davenport, Jeremy Heatley and DJ Baxendale.
The tenth-ranked Hogs jump back into Southeastern Conference play Friday for the first of a three-game series against Kentucky at Baum Stadium. First pitch of the series opener is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. with games two and three scheduled for a 2:05 p.m. and 1:05 p.m., respectively.