SMS Knocks-Off Arkansas 10-7; Arkansas Catcher
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. – Rick Wilson doubled and scored twice to lead a 14-hit attack by Southwest Missouri State as the Bears claimed a 10-7 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks Wednesday night at Baum Stadium.
The Bears improved to 31-10 overall, while the Razorbacks dropped 24-19 with the loss. Despite a career-best four-hit performance from catcher Aaron Graves, the Razorbacks lost for the fifth time in the last six games. Graves went 4-for-4 at the plate with a home run and two runs batted in.
Derek Eddie gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits in four innings of relief work to earn the win for SMS. Eddie moved to 2-0 and fanned four in the victory. Arkansas starter Justin Leraris allowed six runs, four earned, in three innings on five hits in taking the loss. Leraris fell to 1-1 on the year.
SMS jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Rick Wilson walked and moved to second on a single by Matt Gardner. Jeremy Isenhower then hit a ball that went through second baseman Brett Hagedorn’s legs and allowed Wilson to score.
With runners on third and first, Greg Mathis hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Gardner for a 2-0 lead. Donnie Watchowski gave the Bears a 3-0 lead on a single to right that plated Isenhower.
Arkansas tallied a run in the bottom of the first when Andrew Wishy plated Cliff Crouse (single) on a sacrifice fly to right. Aaron Graves made it a 3-2 game in the second inning with a solo home run to left. It was Graves’ second home run of the year.
The Razorbacks took advantage a pair SMS miscues to tie the game in the third. With Wishy aboard, Michael Conner hit a grounder to the SMS shortstop who threw to second to get Wishy. Isenhower, the SMS second baseman, then threw the ball into the Bears dugout on a double-play attempt, allowing Conner to move to second. Conner then stole third and came home on a passed ball to tie the game at 3-3.
Tony Piazza put SMS ahead 4-3 in the fourth with a solo home run that landed in the picnic area behind the Razorback bullpen. Still in the fourth, Shaun Marcum walked and scored on a double to left by Wilson. Isenhower made it a 6-3 game when he brought in Brooks Colvin (error) with a fielder’s choice.
Arkansas narrowed the gap to 6-4 when Kirk McConnell tripled home Scott Bridges who pinch ran for Brett Hagedorn (walk). It was McConnell’s conference-leading sixth triple of the year.
SMS broke the game open with four runs in the sixth inning. The Bears had four hits and took advantage of two walks and a hit-by-pitch in taking a 10-4 lead.
The six-run advantage held until the eighth inning when the Hogs plated a pair of runs. Nick Pitts reached on a booted ball by the shortstop and moved to third on a single by Scott Bridges. Pitts came in to score on a wild pitch by Eddie to cut the deficit to 10-5. Three walks brought home the second Arkansas run to make it a 10-6 game.
Arkansas plated a run in the ninth on Graves’ RBI single to left that scored Conner (single) for the final 10-7 margin.
The Razorbacks return to Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a three-game series against the Kentucky Wildcats at Baum Stadium. Game one is slated for a 6:30 p.m. start Friday. Senior Charlie Isaacson is scheduled to take the mound against the Wildcats in the series opener.
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