FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Chad Spanberger’s monstrous home run in the seventh inning was the final blow Arkansas needed to outlast Oral Roberts Sunday afternoon, winning an elimination game, 4-3, at Baum Stadium. Both teams utilized three-run innings early on and were tied going into the seventh before Spanberger’s 20th home run of the season broke the tie and sent the Hogs to the regional final.
Arkansas, which came into the regional with an SEC-leading 80 home runs on the year, had yet to send a ball over the fence this weekend. Spanberger changed that with one swing, launching a ball well past the scoreboard in right field to put the Hogs ahead by one.
Spanberger, who was coming off a five home run week at the SEC Tournament, was 3-for-6 in the regional, but just had one RBI and one double to his credit. Spanberger joins Ryan Lundquist (24), Brett Eibner (22), Danny Hamblin (22), Rodney Nye (20), and Andrew Benintendi as the only players in program history with 20 or more home runs in a season.
ORU led early with the help of back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning by Noah Cummings and Brent Williams. The Golden Eagles scored an additional run after Murphy was relieved in the same inning to take a 3-0 lead.
The Razorbacks went to work in the next half inning, scoring three runs of their own on the strength of five-straight hits, including doubles by Dominic Fletcher and Eric Cole. For Cole, his double counted for two of the three runs in the inning, while Fletcher’s was his second RBI double of the regional.
Arkansas will face two-seed Missouri State in its second elimination game later tonight. A win by the Hogs will force a regional deciding game on Monday at Baum Stadium. First pitch for tonight’s game is tentatively scheduled for 9:10 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN3.
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