RUSTON, La. – Brian Walker came through with a the clutch hit just when No. 7 Arkansas needed it most in a 6-2 win Sunday afternoon at J.C. Love Field.
The left-hand hitting catcher blasted a 1-0 pitcher from Louisiana Tech starter Dylan Moseley deep over the center-field fence for a three-run home run in the eighth inning that put the Razorbacks on top to stay.
The Hogs (2-1) trailed 2-1 going into the top of the eighth inning and had not gotten a hit since the second batter of the game. Jake Dugger led off the inning with a single to right field and Jerrod Carroll followed with his first hit as a Razorback, singling to left field.
Fireworks then followed Walker’s home run as the ensuing pitch from Moseley buzzed the head of shortstop Matt Willard. The pitch brought both team’s emotions to a fever pitch and players spilling from the dugout. After order was restored without incident, the umpires ejected Tech’s Moseley the game.
Arkansas added on more run in the eighth inning with a RBI single off the bat of Casey Coon. The Hogs plated their sixth run of the game in the top of the ninth inning to take a 6-2 lead after Dugger led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by Carroll. Walker then slapped a ground ball that darted between the legs of Tech second baseman Patrick Maxwell.
The Razorbacks’ right-handed closer Jess Todd came on to close things out, striking out three Bulldogs and not giving up a run in the eighth and ninth innings. Todd earned his second save in three games and has struck out six batters in 3.1 innings this season.
Senior Chris Rhoads pitched 3.2-scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season. He did not allow a hit and struck out two. Duke Welker made the start for the Hogs and worked three innings, allowing two runs on three hits. He walked two and uncorked two wild pitches.
Dugger paced the Razorbacks’ six-hit attack with two singles, while Coon added a single and two RBI. Drew Bunting and Nick Grunenwald both collected two hits each to lead Louisiana Tech.
The Razorbacks got on the board first for the first time this season in the first inning with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Coon. Sean Jones reached to open the game on a throwing error by the Tech second baseman. After a wild pitch, Ben Tschepikow moved Jones to third with a single to right field.
The first inning came apart after Tschepikow tried to advance on the sacrifice fly to left after an errant throw back into the infield. But the first baseman backed up the throw and gunned Tschepikow out at second base.
Tech tied things up at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning when Welker uncorked a two-out wild pitch that scored Albie Goulder who had drawn a walk earlier in the inning. The Bulldogs then mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the third inning to take a 2-1 lead with a walk sandwiched between two singles.
Arkansas continues its six-game season-opening road trip next Friday in Troy, Ala., for a three-game series with the Troy Trojans.
Download: AR03 – 2.4.07.pdf