State of the Hogs: Frisky

Derrick Bleeker's aggressive attitude at the plate produced a triple and two doubles against Missouri pitching. The Hogs rolled, 6-3, at Baum Stadium for their third straight victory.

The Tigers came to town, so it was perfect timing for Derrick Bleeker to get "frisky" with the bat. Actually, that's the way Bleeker explained a triple and two doubles in Arkansas' 6-3 victory over Missouri on Tuesday night at Baum Stadium.

Dave Van Horn laughed when he heard Bleeker's explanation for his approach at the plate after the game in the post-game interview session.

"That's just a new word," Van Horn said, raising his eye brows at his left fielder's description of his attitude at the plate.

That's as good as any explanation for Bleeker's terminology. It was the first time this reporter has heard that usage for a hitting attitude.

"I was just trying to be frisky at the plate," Bleeker said.

Asked again what he said, he said, "Frisky, you know, being aggressive at the plate. I just wanted to attack."

Bleeker had a two-run triple into the corner in right field to highlight a four-run third inning that gave the Hogs a 5-0 lead. The lead swelled to 6-0 through six innings before the Tigers scored three over their final two at bats.

Arkansas starter Nolan Sanburn (3-1) got the victory with one-hit pitching over the first four innings. He was limited to a pitch count.

"We were going to get him after 75 and he went 73," Van Horn said. "I thought he was good in the first, really good in the third and real good in the fourth. He could have gone more and we might use him as a starter again. We are stretching him out."

Sanburn said he over threw in the second inning.

"Coach (Dave) Jorn got me to settle down in the third and I was throwing more downhill," Sanburn said. "I was getting to be about a pitching machine in the third and fourth, just throwing strikes, not trying to do too much."

Ty Wright was effective, too. He allowed just one hit in three innings. Chris Oliver gave up two runs with poor command of his fast ball. In his 18 pitches there were three wild pitches and two more that catcher John Clay Reeves blocked.

Van Horn said the big highlight on the night was Sanburn's pitching.

"Nolan did a real good job," Van Horn said. "He was spotting up his fast ball and then he got his breaking ball going, too."

Missiouri is a future SEC opponent, but Van Horn said that wasn't the focus on the night.

"I think it was more about us just trying to continue to play good baseball," Van Horn said. "I think we are getting better. We've been in every game and we just want to get wins."

Van Horn said this was a series set before the Tigers committed to joining the SEC. The Hogs were supposed to return the series next year in Columbia, but now that's off since they are conference foes. Ironically, the new SEC schedule is out for next year and the two teams didn't draw each other in the expanded slate.

They play again at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Van Horn said the Hogs are scheduled to open with lefty Trent Daniels. He said several others will get a chance to pitch, but not Cade Lynch, slowed with a tender arm. Van Horn said he'll get a few days off to rest.

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