FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Scott Lyons had three hits including the game-winning double in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead the No. 16 Arkansas Baseball team to a 3-2 win over the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at Baum Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Razorbacks (32-17) were sluggish at the plate after an hour-plus long rain delay but came through in the ninth inning with three of their six hits to rally from a 2-0 deficit with two outs left. The Arkansas win ends a season long five-game losing streak. Oral Roberts (26-13) scored two unearned runs in the fourth inning but couldn’t manage much offense themselves, tallying just five hits.
Arkansas struggled throughout the game with Oral Roberts’ Drew Bowen who was the only pitcher for the Golden Eagles. Bowen completed the game after 8.2 innings and 169 pitches, but it was the last pitch that did him in.
A leadoff strikeout in the ninth was followed by a pair of flair hits by Brett Eibner and Collin Kuhn. Chase Leavitt then took three balls before getting hit by a pitch to load the bases for Lyons who strode to the plate with two hits in his pocket and looking for more. Falling behind in the count 1-2, Lyons crushed the next pitch to the left-center field gap where Oral Roberts’ left-fielder appeared to be able to make a play. Instead the Golden Eagles’ left-fielder fell to the ground and the ball landed on his leg and bounded away allowing all three Razorback base runners to score and clinch the victory for the Hogs.
“I thought that ball was way out when [Lyons] hit it,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We just couldn’t get the big hit tonight. It was a good win, but a very frustrating game. I thought that the pitching staff did a great job.”
Arkansas’ pitchers were solid throughout the night as they allowed just two unearned runs on five hits while striking out nine. Redshirt freshman Drew Smyly started the game and matched a career high with six innings and set a career best with six strikeouts. He would run into trouble in the fourth inning after a single and a walk, but with one out and runners on second and third, Smyly struck out the next batter he faced on a ball in the dirt. Needing to throw the batter out at first, the ball was instead tossed down the right-field line allowing both base runners to score and give ORU the lead. Undeterred, Smyly struck out the next batter he faced for the second out and completed the inning with a ground out to shortstop.
Following Smyly out of the bullpen were Sam Murphy, Justin Wells and Stephen Richards who combined to throw three innings, one each, and give up just two hits, three walks and three strikeouts. Richards, who pitched the ninth, was credited with his fifth win of the season.
Along with Lyons’ three-hit day, Eibner, Kuhn and Ben Tschepikow each contributed one hit a piece. The Razorbacks, who were looking for a big hit most of the evening, left eight runners on base as they drew five walks and forced Bowen to work out of the stretch several times.
The Razorbacks complete their regular season with a three-game series against Ole Miss beginning on Thursday night at Baum Stadium. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.