Arkansas Bench Breaks Into Lineup

FAYETTEVILLE -- This was one game a fan definitely needed a scorecard or a media guide to keep up with all the players.

A lot of new faces -- some which probably should have been plastered on the side of a milk carton -- finally got into the lineup and the boxscore.

When No. 19 Arkansas beat Illinois-Chicago 15-4 in Baum Stadium on Saturday, some of the 6,843 people who showed up were formally introduced to new talent.

And the season-high crowd gave an enthusiastic two thumbs up for the substitutes, some who actually started.

One of them was Fayetteville freshman designated hitter Ben Tschepikow.

Think he wasn't thrilled?

"Oh, it was awesome, it was a great experience," Tschepikow said. "I've been trying to work harder and harder every day to get into a game and it was special being at home.

"It felt even better than I thought it would be. The first time I stepped in the (batter's) box today, it was a great experience. The fans were awesome.

"It was fun to play in front of this many people."

One of them was former high school teammate Blake Parker, who's in his second year with the Razorbacks.

"It was good to see him back out there again," Parker said. "He's a freshman coming in here. We're hoping for the best for him.

"I'm happy for him."

So was Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn despite Tschepikow going 0-for-5 with an RBI on a fielder's choice and later scoring a run.

"He was a little nervous," Van Horn said. "He chased some pitches, he normally doesn't do that. He'll get another shot.

"He's going to be a good hitter here."

Parker said he wasn't a bit surprised at the wholesale substitution.

"Coach Van Horn always tells us how hard it is to write out a lineup," Parker said. "You definitely saw it today. We've got people who can play two or three positions. We've got people that can play like that all the time.

"No doubt, our depth is going to help us down the line. If we get a guy struggling at the plate or struggling on the field, we know we have people that can fill his shoes.

"We feel like we can stick anybody out there and they can get it done."

Bullpen catcher Knox McCorquodale, who redshirted last year, found his way into the lineup as a pinch-hitter (he was 1-for-1) and first baseman.

"I think we had everybody in the lineup today and it was real good to see that," McCorquodale said. "A lot of guys can get it done whenever we get in. It felt great. It was nice to play.

"I caught an inning earlier this season and then it started to rain before I got up to get an at-bat. I was on deck, so I didn't get to hit."

Late-inning left-field replacement Chris Hollensworth got to hit and made the most of it. In the seventh inning, Hollensworth smashed a two-run home run.

"We just try to stay up," Hollensworth said. "The guys on the bench always are staying up, paying attention, so we can contribute when our names are called.

"Coach brought out four or five guys off the bench in one inning. We're just going to stay ready and be aggressive.

"And we did that today."

Van Horn said it could become in vogue.

"I've been saying all along we've got a few more bullets in our gun than we had last year, as far as position-player wise," Van Horn said. "We have some options.

"It was fun to watch all the guys who played."

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