Eibner Leads Arkansas to DH Sweep

Freshman Brett Eibner shines on the mound and at the plate to help Arkansas complete a doubleheader sweep of South Dakota State on a day when the Razorbacks launch 8 home runs.

FAYETTEVILLE - Brett Eibner wasn't ready to put away the bat just yet when he decided to pass up a lucrative pro baseball contract and sign with Arkansas.

For the Razorbacks - and Eibner - the choice seems to be working out just fine. A fourth-round pick by the Houston Astros in the 2007 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, Eibner was recruited by Arkansas as a dual position athlete who could both play the field and pitch.

But when the Astros wanted the Houston native to give up his hitting to focus on the mound, the Diamond Hogs found themselves in luck.

Wednesday, Arkansas perhaps saw just how lucky it was to get Eibner.

In the second game of a doubleheader sweep against South Dakota State, the freshman pitched five innings for the win and went 5-for-6 with six RBIs in a 20-4 Razorbacks rout in front of 1,841 at Baum Stadium.

"I'm just coming out here to play and coming out here to win," Eibner said. "I mean there's not much to it. Just helping my teammates out, doing what I'm supposed to do and doing what I'm expected to do."

If this is what Eibner is supposed to do, then look out.

On a day when the Razorbacks (8-1) belted eight home runs in two games and collected 32 hits, there was plenty of fun to go around. Especially for a kid getting an opportunity to do what was promised by playing the field and pitching.

"You don't see too much of that anymore," said senior Aaron Murphree, who had three of Arkansas' eight home runs. "He's definitely an outstanding athlete and he's really stepped it up in part to a bunch of our older, seasoned guys getting hurt. And it's really been fun to watch so far."

Eibner finished 7 of 11 with eight RBIs in the two games. As for his pitching effort, he did allow two solo home runs, but gave up just three hits while striking out six Jackrabbits (1-5).

"He did a good job. He came out and threw the ball extremely well," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He made a couple of mistakes and they hit them out of the park, but they were solo home runs.

"He was throwing the ball in the low 90s and pitched pretty well. And he also got five hits, got a win and got five RBIs in one game. You know, that's something you think you might do in high school level but not at this level. So it was a fun game to watch and a fun game to coach."

Arkansas 13

South Dakota State 1

GAME 1 - The Razorbacks got off to a slow start in the opener. But as the game wore on, the Arkansas offense picked up the pace in a 13-1 victory against South Dakota State.

Home runs by Murphree, Eibner, Tim Smalling and Jacob House highlighted the win, while starting pitcher James Mahler pitched an effective 4 2/3 innings for his first victory.

Mahler was very strong through the first three innings - allowing no runs - before showing signs of fatigue in the fourth.

"If our starters can give us five innings, that's fine," Van Horn said. "With our bullpen, that's all we need."

Ben Tschepikow went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, as Arkansas broke open a 2-1 game with two runs in fourth, three in the sixth and four more in the seventh inning.

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