Arkansas Defeats Troy

TROY, Ala. — Fifth-ranked Arkansas had scored only 12 runs in its first three games of the season. The Razorbacks erased all of those frustrations by sending 23 batters to the plate in the eighth and ninth inning — to score 12 times — in a 13-1 college baseball victory over Troy on Friday night.

Junior college transfer Casey Coon delivered the big blows, a pair of two-run homers in the eighth and ninth innings to empty the stands at Riddle-Pace Field on a cold, damp night in south Alabama.

Coon's first two-run blast, a one-arm swing that rode the wind over the wall in center, came just three pitches after Sean Jones broke up a 1-1 tie with a solo shot to right field with one out in the eighth.

"That (homer) by Sean got us going," Coon said. "He sparked us. We got on a roll after that."

Rain delayed the start of the game and held attendance to just 1,493 in what had been billed the biggest nonconference series ever for the Sun Belt Conference school. There were few Troy fans around at the end after the Hogs scored five times in the eighth and nine in the ninth.

It was Troy's season opener with single games set for Saturday and Sunday.

"We tell our guys all the time — and we emphasized that to the newcomers lately — that at this level, a lot happens after the eighth inning," said UA coach Dave Van Horn. "You need to finish teams off. We did a great job of hanging in and a great job at the end.

"We hadn't scored many runs, but we had great batting practices at home Tuesday and Wednesday and we had a really long practice here Thursday. We went two and a half hours and really were swinging the bats here. It didn't look good here for awhile, but sometimes all it takes is a little confidence.

"I thought it was a great pitching matchup early. Both starters threw well."

Neither starter figured in the decision. UA ace Nick Schmidt pitched six shutout innings and left with a 1-0 lead. Troy ace Clegg Snipes gave up only one run in five and 2/3 innings.

"Schmidt was much better tonight," Van Horn said. "His velocity was up from his last outing and his arm still isn't in shape yet. He was good with his changeup, spotting his fastball and his curve was good. He looked very good."

Arkansas (3-1) cracked nine of its 13 hits in the last two innings when it worked over the five Trojans who came out of the bullpen.

Chris Rhoads, the second of three UA pitchers out of the pen, got his second victory of the season. He threw 41 pitches in recording five outs.

The late explosion by Arkansas kept Van Horn from using closer Jess Todd in the eighth.

"We had him up and he threw one pitch to the catcher, the catcher was about to get down (in a squat) and when Casey hit his first home run we put him back in the dugout," Van Horn said.


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