FAYETTEVILLE – Sophomore Andy Wilkins had three hits including two home runs, but a ninth inning rally by the Nebraska Cornhuskers ended the Arkansas baseball team’s four-game winning streak on Wednesday evening at Baum Stadium, 7-4.
Arkansas (13-4) lost a lead in the ninth inning for just the second time this season while Nebraska (12-6-1) rallied in the ninth with one out as seven consecutive batters reached base.
The Razorbacks held a 3-1 lead going into the final inning and appeared to be on their way to a sweep of the Cornhuskers but back-to-back walks began a rally that ended Arkansas’ winning ways. With one out and two on, Nebraska’s Cory Burleson hit a shot to first base that was snared by Wilkins on a fantastic play, but the ensuing throw to the pitcher was not handled and two runs came around to score on the error by the pitcher. Three more singles by Nebraska was followed by a two-run home run to right-center field and what was a 3-1 Arkansas lead was suddenly a 7-3 Razorback deficit.
In Arkansas’ half of the ninth Wilkins led off with his second home run of the game to make it 7-4 and Scott Lyons followed with a single giving those in attendance a feeling that the Razorbacks would be able to make up the hole they were in, but Nebraska pitcher Mike Nesseth struck out the next three hitters to end the game.
Wilkins two home run day is the first time since May of last season that a Razorback has hit two home runs in a game. He now has eight long balls on the year which places him among the elite hitters in the Southeastern Conference and his three RBI performance ties him for the team lead with 19 on the year.
The Razorbacks appeared to be in control of the game with solid pitching and it began with starter Sam Murphy. The Nebraska native tossed four innings and allowed just a single run on three hits while striking out a season best three batters. The next four innings of work were handled by the quartet of Christian Kowalchuk, Kendall Wehrle, Justin Wells and Stephen Richards and they blanked the Cornhuskers by allowing just two hits and one walk. Richards started the ninth and got the first batter on a strikeout but walked the second batter prompting Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn to go to the bullpen, but the move would not pan out for the Hogs as Zack Cox and Geoffrey Davenport could not record the final two outs before Nebraska went on its run.
Along with Wilkins’ two home runs, Cox hit a solo shot just over the right-field wall for his second home run of the season to account for all the Razorback runs.
The Razorbacks head to Auburn, Ala., for their next series, a three-game Southeastern Conference set with the Auburn Tigers. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.