Hogs Head Home On High Note

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- Neither Arkansas nor Texas-Arlington seemed too excited to play each other for a third time in four days.

But the No. 11 Razorbacks focused just enough to beat Mavericks 7-1 in the final game of the Rainbow Tournament in Les Murakami Stadium on Saturday.

The start time was moved up four and a half hours to allow both teams some free time before heading back to the mainland Saturday evening. Perhaps players were thinking more about an afternoon on the beach instead of baseball in the morning.

"Probably the first five or six innings, we were kind of dead again," said Hogs slugger Danny Hamblin, who extended his team-best hitting streak to 12 games by going 3-for-5. "It seemed like they were playing a little bit better than us because they were just getting a couple of breaks here and there.

"But once we settled in a little bit, we took care of business."

After playing eight games in the last 10 days, Arkansas (13-1) will get a bit of a break this week before hosting Cal-State Northridge for a three-game series in Baum Stadium beginning at 12:35 p.m. on Friday.

It was Hamblin's two-run double during a three-run seventh inning that broke the game open and gave the Razorbacks a comfortable 6-1 lead. Arkansas stranded six runners in the early innings as the Mavericks (4-11) turned three double plays to keep the Hogs' offense at bay.

"They did a good job of getting out of some jams," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "We hit into a couple of double plays, including one with the bases loaded and no outs where we were only able to score one run, so they did a nice job of keeping it close until we scored those three runs in the seventh and that was huge for us."

Sophomore Ben Tschepikow smacked his first homer of the season and second of his career to get Arkansas on the board in the first inning. The solo shot was his first legitimate homer as the other came when the Hogs homered eight times with the wind blowing hard to straight-away center at Oral Roberts last season.

"He's got some pop and the second pitch he saw, he unloaded on it," Van Horn said. "When it came off the bat, I knew it was at least a double because he hit the ball extremely hard and it was good to see it leave the park and give us a lead."

Hamblin singled and scored on an error when Brian Walker looped a single to left that got by UTA's Kyle Thomason later in the first. It was one of the Mavericks' three errors in the first two innings as a steady rain fell throughout the game, making for a slippery AstroTurf surface.

Back-to-back errors and a walk loaded the bases in the second inning and another run scored when Chris Hollensworth grounded into a double play to give Arkansas a 3-0 lead.

"Walker slapped one to left and the ball was skipping a little bit on this wet surface," Van Horn said. "That gave us one run and then we got another one later on, but the good thing was we were putting pressure on them."

With the early cushion, there was not much pressure on Razorbacks pitchers although starter Chris Rhoads lasted only two-plus innings after giving up an RBI single to David McLeod in the third.

Van Horn switched pitchers often in the late innings as five guys took the mound before it was over. Brian McLelland, who struck out the side in the third after relieving Rhoads with two runners on and no outs, recorded his first win of the season. He allowed three hits in 2 2/3 innings.

"Guys were on pitch counts," Van Horn said. "We wanted to get them all a little bit of work. More than anything, it was the second time some of those guys have thrown in a two- or three-day period and we figure we're going to have to do this in (Southeastern) Conference play some, especially on Sundays.

"So we were kind of treating it like a weekend series."


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