FAYETTEVILLE – Senior Ben Tschepikow went 3-5 including a game-winning two-run home run in the fourth inning to lead the 22nd-ranked Arkansas baseball team to a 4-2 opening day victory in the first-game of a doubleheader against Washington State on Friday.
With one out in the fourth, Chase Leavitt singled to left-center field and on the next pitch Tschepikow hit an opposite field home run to give Arkansas a lead they would not relinquish.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first, the Razorbacks opened the scoring in the second inning with three hits and a passed ball. Ryan Cisterna roped a ball to left-center field which the left field made a diving attempt at but could not pull down. Scott Lyons followed up the double with a single up the middle which scored Cisterna. Tschepikow singled two batters later and a walk to Brett Eibner loaded the bases. A passed ball later and it was a 2-0 Arkansas lead at the end of the second.
Washington State would tie the score at two in the top of the fourth on a no-doubt home run over the left field fence by Jared Prince.
Wasting no time, Arkansas regained a two-run lead in the bottom of the inning on a two-run shot of its own. Arkansas’ home run came from an unlikely source as Tschepikow, who has managed just four home runs in three-plus years on the diamond, hit a ball the opposite way that easily cleared the left-field fence. The home run scored Chase Leavitt who hit the first of his three singles the batter before.
On the mound for the Razorbacks in game one, junior Dallas Keuchel was dominating as he threw 83 pitches over six innings. Keuchel allowed four hits during that time and made just one bad pitch, the home run by Prince. Following Keuchel on the mound was senior Justin Wells who threw three innings and allowed just one hit, a batter he then erased with a pick off at first, to earn his first save of the season.
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