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Offense explodes Razorbacks go 2-0 at regional

Offense explodes Razorbacks go 2-0 at regional

NORMAN, Okla. – The No. 21 Arkansas Razorback baseball team pounded out a season high 20 hits including three or more from Ben Tschepikow, Scott Lyons, Andy Wilkins and James McCann to remain undefeated in the NCAA Norman Regional with a 17-6 victory over the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners at L. Dale Mitchell Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday night.

Arkansas (36-22) defeat the top-10 ranked Sooners (42-19) for the second time this season and remain in the winner’s bracket of the regional. Arkansas will face the winner of the Washington St.-Oklahoma game tomorrow night at 7 p.m. for an opportunity to advance to a Super Regional for the first time since 2004.

“It was a tremendous game all the way around for our team,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “Brett got us off to a good start with 5.2 innings and we backed him up with some outstanding offense up and down the lineup.”

Oklahoma scored in the top of the first to take the early lead. Back-to-back hits to lead off the game placed runners at the corners and prompted a visit from pitching Coach Dave Jorn to Arkansas starter Brett Eibner. Eibner followed the visit with a ground-out double play to shortstop scoring one run, but limiting what could have been a big inning for the Sooners.

The Razorbacks came back in the bottom of the inning and jumped on Oklahoma starter Michael Rocha. Chase Leavitt singled on the first pitch and moved to second on a one-out single by Scott Lyons. Andy Wilkins delivered with a two-strike double to right field scoring Lyons and tying the contest at one. Arkansas’ next batter, Zack Cox then hit a long three-run home run to right field to make it a 4-1 game at the end of the first inning. The home run by Cox forced Oklahoma to go to its bullpen.

Arkansas made it a 6-1 game in the third inning as James McCann executed a hit-and-run to perfection with a single to right field as runners moved from first and second. Cox led off with a double and Bo Bigham reached on a walk and both came around to score on the hit.

The Razorbacks would add, what would seem at the time, to be four meaningless runs over the next two innings. The fourth inning saw a leadoff walk to Lyons and he would eventually score on a passed ball. Arkansas tallied three in the fifth on a ground out by Collin Kuhn, a RBI single by Lyons and a RBI double by Wilkins.

Oklahoma made a big comeback push in the top of the sixth inning with a two-out rally that scored five runs to make it 10-6. Eibner would get two quick outs in the inning but hit the next batter. An innocent single put two runners on base, but back-to-back walks scored the first run of the inning. The Razorbacks went to the bullpen but another walk scored a second Sooner run and was followed by a two-RBI single to right and a RBI double to cut into Arkansas’ lead.

Needing to stop the home-town momentum that Oklahoma began in the top of the inning, Bigham would lead off the bottom of the sixth with a triple to right-center field. Jacob House would deliver his second pinch-hit in as many days to score Bigham and with runners on first and second Tschepikow stroked another Razorback triple, their second of the inning, to score two more runs and give the Hogs a 13-6 lead.

Arkansas’ 20 hits were a season high and the most by a Razorback team since the 2008 team posted 20 on South Dakota St. The 17 Razorback runs were also a team best for the Hogs against Oklahoma, breaking the mark of the 1983 Razorbacks who scored 14 runs.

Offensively, Wilkins led the way with four hits and four RBI. Tschepikow had three hits including a double and triple while Scott Lyons had three hits and two RBI and James McCann had a career best three hits and two RBI. Other Razorback hits came from Leavitt, Cox (2), Bigham, House, Andrew Darr and Kuhn.

Eibner earned his fifth win of the season for his effort while Sam Murphy, Mike Bolsinger and Justin Wells completed the game.

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Sports Category : Baseball