Hogs Get Off Scott-Free With Latest Win

FAYETTEVILLE -- Somehow, Arkansas has been able to keep a once-sinking ship afloat with only chewing gum and baling wire.

In all honesty, here recently, this college baseball team looked like it was headed straight for Gilligan's Island without a compass.

And with nobody to answer an S.O.S.

But somehow, Scott Hode and Clint Arnold again saved the Razorbacks from being certain castaways with clutch hitting during another it's-not-over-until-it's-over game Saturday.

As a direct result, Arkansas won a tough 3-2 contest against No. 6 Florida in 10 innings in front of 7,537 fans in Baum Stadium.

Arnold's fielder's choice RBI in the 10th won it, but Hode's two opposite-field, two-out singles provided him with the opportunity to do it.

And Hode seemed like the only player who kept the Razorbacks from getting their hind ends kicked by Florida starter Alan Horne.

In nine innings, Horne allowed only four hits -- two of them to Hode -- and struck out a career-high 12 batters.

Reliever Connor Falkenbach, who pitched 2/3 of an inning, gave up the only other hit -- an infield single to Stephen Robison, who scored the winning run-- during this 3-hour, 3-second masterpiece painted under a warm, but partly cloudy canvas.

"That guy (Horne) was great," Hode said. "I just happen to get lucky and get a couple of good pitches to hit."

Hode, who was 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs, drove in Craig Gentry in the first inning. He tied the score by driving in Razorbacks first baseman Danny Hamblin in the sixth.

"You know, you look back at the game, Hode kind of took a break and pitch-slapped it to right today," said Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn. "Yesterday (Friday), he wouldn't go to right for anything.

"Today he did, drove in a run.

"The second RBI. If you think about the play before, we had a runner at first, it was Hamblin. (Brian) Walker hit a ball in the hole and they really had Hamblin at second base on the force. And they thought, ‘Well, let's just take the out (at first).' Well, it came back to bite them a little bit."

Because ...

"We got a hit to tie it up."

Hode, who had 53 RBIs last year but has only 17 this season, took advantage -- as it seems he always does -- of the situation.

"Yeah, I got those two good pitches to hit," Hode said. "The first one was a slider and I just kind of stayed back ... off the end of the bat into the hole. That kind of worked in my second at-bat, too.

"It felt good. It felt good to drive in a guy. It felt good to win. It felt good to win last night (4-1 against the Gators on Friday). It felt good to win the series, but it's not over.

"We still have another game."

Arnold said Arkansas won the series, in large measure, because of people like Hode, a senior shortstop with the ability to deliver in the clutch.

"You know, Hode ... I never doubted Hode," Arnold, only a freshman, said. "He got some huge, huge hits,, RBI hits that helped us. I know he likes to come up and help us win in any way.

"He really carried us today."

Hamblin said he was glad he was along for the ride.

"Coaches stay on us to drive people in," Hamblin said. "Today was a great day for Hode to do that. Hode drove in some big runs. I was fortunate to get to second (in the sixth) when he drove me in. That's the way you win, you drive people in with two outs.

"Hode did that today."




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