NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It took nearly 21 hours from the first pitch to the end of the ball game and the University of Arkansas Razorback baseball team did not like the outcome as they lost in the bottom of the 12th to the Vanderbilt Commodores, 6-5, on Sunday afternoon.
The game began at 3:05 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and was halted at 4:49 p.m. due to rain. Nearly five hours later the game resumed (9:45 p.m.) and was again stopped at the end of the 11th inning due to curfew at 12:08 p.m. The resolution of the contest began at 12:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon and finally ended at 12:18 p.m. with a RBI double off the left field wall by Vanderbilt’s Brian Harris.
The completion of the game was the first of two contests scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Arkansas and Vanderbilt play a seven inning affair to conclude the rain-shortened series.
Vanderbilt scored first in the contest when it capitalized on a bit of wildness from Arkansas starter Cliff Springston. Springston had pitched 2.2 innings of near flawless ball until he gave up a pair of walks and hit a batter with two outs. A single later and the Commodores had taken the lead.
After spotting the Commodores a two-run lead in the third, Arkansas came back with a vengeance in the fourth by scoring five runs off the Vanderbilt ace. Starting innocently with a walk to Brett Eibner, Tim Smalling earned a walk to put runners at first and second. Andrew Darr would lay down a nice sacrifice bunt allowing Aaron Murphree to drive in the Razorbacks first run with a bloop single to left.
With runners on the corners, Van Horn rolled the dice and called a safety squeeze for Ryan Cisterna which was executed to perfection and with Smalling beating the throw to the plate, Cisterna reached first on the fielder’s choice. Back-to-back-to-back hits by the Razorbacks and an error by the Commodore right fielder made it a five-run inning for the Razorbacks giving them a 5-2 lead.
Following the nearly five hour rain delay, the teams returned to the field with new pitchers and a new outlook. Both right handers were dealing early as batter after batter went down on strikes. The bottom of the seventh however proved to be a different story as Vanderbilt took advantage of Arkansas miscues and tied the game at five with three runs, two unearned.
A leadoff single was followed by a bouncing ground ball which could have been turned into a double play, but the ball caught the fielder on an in-between hop and rolled into the outfield putting runners at the corners. A single by the next batter scored the first run and two more would cross the plate thanks to another single, catcher’s interference and a walk. Arkansas’ hurler, Justin Wells was forced to strike out the side in the inning to get out of trouble.
The Razorbacks had a golden opportunity to score in the 11th inning when Andy Wilkins led off with a single to right. Ben Tschepikow followed up with another single giving Arkansas runners at the corners with no one out. A strike out later and the Commodores chose to intentionally walk Logan Forsythe to load the bases with one out. The inning would end on another strike out and a weak grounder to second.
The game would end with a high fly ball to left field that left fielder Casey Coon had a bead on but as he leapt at the base of the 30-foot high left field wall, the ball hit the top of Coon’s glove and the wall and fell to the turf allowing a Vanderbilt runner to score the game-winning run.
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