OXFORD, Miss. – Tim Smalling hit three home runs and had six RBI, but it was the RBI single by Ben Tschepikow in the top of the 10th inning that led the Arkansas Razorback baseball team to a wild 13-11 victory over the Mississippi Rebels at Oxford-University Stadium in the first game of a twi-night double header.
The Razorbacks (25-18, 8-11 SEC) took an 8-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning, but a determined Rebel (28-16, 11-9 SEC) team chipped away at the Arkansas lead with four runs in the bottom of the fifth and two in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to force extra innings. The Hogs fired back with two runs in the top of the 10th which started with a one-out double by Chase Leavitt down the right-field line. Tschepikow would deliver the game-winning hit in the next at-bat, a single to left-center field, scoring Leavitt, and smart base running placed Tschepikow on second with one out. Tschepikow would steal third on the next pitch and score on a sacrifice fly by Scott Lyons.
Mike Bolsinger, who gave up a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth, would finally sit the Rebels down with three strikeouts to end the game after three hours and 35 minutes.
The Razorbacks were the first team on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning when Smalling continued to see the ball well at the plate and took a 1-0 pitch deep over the left-centerfield wall for a solo home run. The long ball was Smalling’s sixth of the season and gave the Razorbacks their first lead in the series.
Arkansas jumped on the Rebels for five more runs in the third inning aided by a third-pitch strike that went for a wild pitch. With a runner on first, Brett Eibner smoked a line drive down the left field line to place runners on second and third for Logan Forsythe. Forsythe would push a bunt toward first base and beat out the throw scoring Arkansas’ first run of the inning and placing runners at the corners. Another bunt single by Casey Coon in the next at bat to the same location as Forsythe’s scored a second Razorback run and put runners on first and second for Smalling who cracked his second home run of the game to nearly the same spot in left center field for a 6-0 Arkansas lead.
In the seventh, Smalling would crush his third home run and become the first Razorback since Aaron Murphree to have a three-home run game and the first Hog since Rodney Nye in 1999 to do it against a Southeastern Conference opponent. Smalling’s heroics gave him six RBI for the game, a career high.
The Razorbacks are scheduled to play a second game with the Rebels on Saturday night to avoid almost certain rain in the forecast on Sunday afternoon. Game two is scheduled for an 8:20 p.m. start.
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