SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Ben Tschepikow hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning for the University of Arkansas Razorback baseball team to give it a 7-6 win over Missouri State on Tuesday night on a night laden with late-inning heroics.
The Arkansas victory ends a three-game losing streak and improves the Razorbacks to 16-11 overall while Missouri State falls to 17-8.
“We needed that one,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “The guys showed a lot of emotion tonight.”
The Razorbacks fell behind by two in the bottom of the eighth inning but didn’t allow the setback to deter them in their quest for a road victory. With one out Sean Jones and Tschepikow drew back-to-back walks, and then stole second and third respectively on a perfectly executed double steal. With a 1-0 count Andy Wilkins smacked a fastball through the left side, a base hit that sent the Arkansas dugout to a frenzy, and scored both Jones and Tschepikow.
Arkansas wasn’t done yet as Jeff Nutt singled and Jacob House walked to load the bases bringing Brett Eibner to the plate with two out. Eibner didn’t hit the ball hard, but his cue shot to second was just enough to bring Wilkins home with the lead run as the speedy freshman beat the play at first.
Missouri State would tie the score in the bottom of the ninth leading to Tschepikow’s game-winning sacrifice fly.
For the Razorbacks, Shaun Seibert would get credit for the win as he pitched two innings of three-hit one-run baseball, but his composure on the mound in the bottom of the 10th was key to the Razorback victory. With two runners on and just one out, Seibert struck out the next two batters to clinch the win.
The Razorbacks were the first ones on the scoreboard and did it without the benefit of a hit in the top of the second inning. Jeff Nutt led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second when Casey Coon was drilled in the small of the back by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt by Eibner put the runners in scoring position and a ground ball to shortstop by Tim Smalling scored the first run.
Arkansas put up another two runs in the top of the third, the first on a tremendous hustle play by Logan Forsythe. Forsythe singled with one out then moved to second on a single by Wilkins. Nutt was the next to the plate and hit a bouncing ground ball to the second baseman. Forsythe was moving on the crack of the bat and rounded third without stopping and slid under the tag of the catcher for Arkansas’ second run. Wilkins would score on a single to right field by Jacob House who entered the game in the second for Coon who appeared to twist an angle when he went into second base awkwardly.
Zeros dominated the scoreboard in the middle innings for both team until Missouri State began a comeback bid in the bottom of the seventh. A one-out single by Chris Playter seemed harmless enough until Ryan Mantle hit a shot that bounced off the top of the wall at the 400-foot sign in center field for a RBI double. Two walks later and the bases were loaded for Nolan Keane who hit a sharp ground ball through the right side scoring two. A nice cut off by Andy Wilkins on the throw to the infield was relayed to third base for the final out of the inning on the runner attempting to take the extra base. While the out was nice for the Razorbacks, Missouri State’s three-run inning tied the score heading into the final innings.
The Razorbacks return to Fayetteville for the first game of a five-game home stand against Mississippi Valley State at Baum Stadium beginning at 6:35 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit www.hogwired.com.