The Razorbacks waited out a 33-minute rain delay to start the game, then produced their biggest first inning of the season en route to a 10-0 victory Tuesday night before 2,017 at Baum Stadium.
Freshman Dominic Ficociello hit a two-run homer in a five-run UA first inning. The Hogs came up with five hits in their biggest first frame since they scored four to open the second game of the year against McNeese.
"A 5-0 lead with our pitching staff, we knew that we were going to be fine tonight," Ficociello said. "This staff can handle it after getting that many runs."
SEMO did manage seven hits and seven walks, but stranded all 14 runners. UA starter Bandon Moore (3-1) stranded five Redhawks in the first two innings and left after 62 pitches.
Nolan Sanburn, Zack Hall, Colby Suggs and Trent Daniel also went to the mound for the Hogs.
Sanburn pitched the fifth and sixth, struggling a bit in his final inning. He loaded the bases on a single and two walks. Sanburn had been the Hogs' closer until blowing two saves the last two weekends. So how did he look to UA coach Dave Van Horn?
"Fine out of the windup, but he struggled from the stretch," Van Horn said. "We've got to get that fixed."
Ficociello had three hits and three RBI. Collin Kuhn also added three hits. Bo Bigham had two hits, including a two-run homer. None of those three wanted to try the new batch of Easton bats that arrived earlier in the day.
"We got two new models, but I stayed with the first ones we got in the fall," Ficocello said, referring to the modifications mandated by the NCAA for this season that reduces the trampoline effect on college bats.
"I think one of the new models is going to be better. It might feel a little better. But I'm doing fine with the one I've had. I think it's superstition. If it's not broke, don't try to fix it."
Ficociello leads the team with a .346 average. His liner just inside the fair pole in left gives him four homers.
"The model I like is the Surge," he said. "That's what most of the team is using. The new ones feel just a little lighter. I took a couple of hacks off the machine this afternoon with the new ones. I see a little difference in the way they feel, but I don't think the ball is going to come off them any different. So why change now?"
Bigham didn't spend too much time with the new models in batting practice either.
"There just isn't time to do anything with them right now," he said. "You can't just switch bats at this point. I can tell you that the ball doesn't jump off of them any differently than the other ones we've had."
Reserve catcher Jake Wise, getting a start with James McCann playing first, did try the new models. He went one for four.
"I don't think the guys liked them very much," said Todd Butler, UA hitting coach. "The weight is distributed a little better on these two new models, but you just don't want to change anything right now. I think that's their feeling. I understand that."
Van Horn does think the new ones will be better in the long run.
"I think our guys, when they have time to work with them, will like these because they aren't so top heavy," he said. "They are going to get a little more bat speed. You just have a hard time making a change this late in the season."
Bigham thinks there are some benefits with staying with the bats that have been in their hands all season for another reason.
"The Surge bats have been broken in," he said. "You wear them down a little after awhile and the ball might go better off them when you square it up. I think that's the thinking with some guys. These new ones might break in some, too. But there isn't time to do that right now."