FAYETTEVILLE – In the first No. 1 vs. No. 1 matchup in Baum Stadium history the Arkansas Razorback baseball team used a five-run seventh inning to defeat the Arizona State Sun Devils on Tuesday night, 7-3.
Arkansas (23-6, 10-2 SEC) improves to 3-4 against No. 1 teams under head coach Dave Van Horn while Arizona State (23-6, 8-1 Pac 10) has its four-game winning streak snapped with the loss.
“The crowd was great tonight,” Van Horn said. “They were loud and really into it. There were times when we had two strikes on a guy and they got out of their seats and were really cheering for us and pulled us through those tough innings. [Arizona State] made a few mistakes in the seventh inning that we were able to take advantage of and hit the ball well, which led to as many runs as we got.”
Down 3-1, the Arkansas seventh began with an out, but Chase Leavitt worked a walk after fouling off several tough pitches. Van Horn then went to the bench and brought up Tom Hauskey who hit the first pitch he saw past the first baseman and into right field moving Leavitt to third. The single prompted Arizona State to make a pitching change but the Razorback hitters were not fazed as Ben Tschepikow greeted the new arm with a bloop single to center field which scored the first run of the inning. Arkansas’ next batter Andy Wilkins was hit by a pitch placing runners at first and second for Jacob House. House hit a 2-0 pitch sharply up the middle which the Arizona State shortstop fielded but then booted allowing pinch runner Collin Kuhn to score and tie the game while also leaving runners on first and second.
With the game tied, Andrew Darr strode to the plate and fought off a 1-2 pitch into left field which scored Tschepikow for Arkansas’ first lead. Two batters later pinch hitter Scott Lyons drove a single to right-center field which scored two runners to make it a 6-3 ballgame.
“Tom [Hauskey] did what a pinch hitter is supposed to do in that situation,” Van Horn said. “He came in and saw the first pitch was a good one and put it out in the outfield. Scott Lyons did a great job to come in there and get a big hit for us.”
Arkansas’ pitchers did a very good job of limiting damage throughout the game as they stranded six Arizona State base runners and allowed the Sun Devils to score just one run in three separate innings. Arkansas starter Brett Eibner tossed five innings and allowed two runs on five hits with three strikeouts before handing the ball off to Sam Murphy who was very good against the eager Sun Devil hitters. Murphy would account for the win as he pitched 2.1 innings and gave up one run on two hits. Stephen Richards picked up a five-out save, striking out three and more importantly getting the first batter he faced to ground into a double play to end an Arizona State threat in the eighth.
Arizona State was the first team to score as they stole one run in the third. With two outs, Zack MacPhee took advantage of the pitchers windup and stole home after getting on base with a walk and moving to second on an attempted sacrifice and to third on a wild pitch. The Sun Devils would also plate runs in the fourth with three hits and the sixth with a home run to take a 3-1 lead in the game heading into the seventh.
The Razorbacks would score their first run of the game in the fourth inning when Wilkins scored on a single up the middle by House. Wilkins had doubled to the right-center field gap.
The Razorbacks and Sun Devils conclude their series on Wednesday evening with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.