With loss of feeling in two fingers (pinkie, ring) on his right hand, the Arkansas second baseman started all three games in his team's sweep against Illinois-Chicago, which concluded Sunday with a 9-2 win in Baum Stadium.
Bridges was 5-for-12 with a double and homer and 3 RBIs.
"For only having one practice all week, he did an unbelievable job," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "I was really concerned his bat might cool off, but it really didn't."
Bridges, a senior from White Hall, also was 2-for-2 on stolen base attempts to stay in record-breaking stride. With 12 already, Bridges is on pace to finish with 51 stolen bases in the regular season which would break the school's single-season mark of 42 set by Scott Loseke in 1983.
The left-handed hitting Bridges was hit with a pitch in his right elbow during a 5-4 win against Minnesota on Feb. 25. He missed two games and several practices last week before figuring out how to play through the numbness.
"Hitting and throwing is the only things that really bothered me," said Bridges, not realizing hitting and throwing makes up two-thirds of the game. "I hated being in the dugout (for two games) last weekend and not being able to help, but there wasn't much I could do because I couldn't feel anything at all in my hand then."
Bridges, who estimated his hand is about 80 percent healthy, continues trying to rehabilitate his injury with ice treatment.
"I'm getting some feeling back, but not all of it," Bridges said. "Right now, I've lost a little strength in my fingers, but I'm starting to throw it pretty good, so it's almost back."
Well Worth It
Hogs junior Chris Hollensworth only played in two games this weekend, but made the most of his five plate appearances with three hits, three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. He also hit his first homer in Saturday's 15-4 win.
Others who enjoyed productive offensive weekends were Danny Hamblin (6-for-11, 5 RBIs), John Marquardt (4-for-9, 2 RBIs) and Clay Goodwin (3-for-10 with a double and homer). In only his second start, Van Buren's Craig Gentry was 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI on Saturday.
As a team, the Hogs hit .373 and posted a 2.00 earned run average in the series.
Arkansas' relievers have been especially impressive and had another a solid outing Sunday when Shaun Seibert allowed one hit and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings.
The Hogs' bullpen boasts a 1.69 ERA in 58 2/3 innings. They've allowed 11 earned runs on 37 hits with 50 strikeouts and 20 walks. Seven of the team's 12 decisions have been picked up by relievers.
Hogs senior Casey Rowlett got some help to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. He was credited with a bunt for a base hit in the fifth when UIC pitcher fielded the slow roller and wheeled to throw it to third, but no one was covering the bag.
Rowlett reached to load the bases and later stole second, but did not score. He did have a legitimate base hit in the seventh when he singled up the middle with two outs.
Favorable weather helped keep Baum Stadium populated for the three-game series. Sunday's crowd of 6,389 increased the weekend attendance total to 16,550, a season high.
Bridges About "80 Percent" Healthy
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