Arkansas Pounds Siena, 17-2

Arkansas improved to 10-1 with a 17-2 victory over Siena which featured a school record 12-run inning -- and another homer by Aaron Murphree.

Aaron Murphree wants to be a game warden in west Texas when his baseball days are done. The way he's slamming home runs for Arkansas, there may be some who start calling him "Officer" a little early.

Officer Murphree hit another homer as the Hoghs pounded Siena, 17-2, Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium. The senior from Brock, Texas set a school record with a homer for the fifth straight game. It also gave him four in two days and 11 in the Hogs' first 11 games.

Andy Wilkins added a three-run homer and a two-run double, both of them to the opposite field and both in the school record 12-run seventh inning. The freshman infielder had three hits and three runs scored to go with his five RBI.

The Hogs, 10-1, rode the five-hit pitching of lefty Cliff Springston until they exploded for 12 runs in the seventh to break open what had been a 4-1 game. Springston became the first UA hurler to make it into the sixth inning. He threw 75 pitches before leaving with one out in the sixth.

Interestingly, the Hogs struck out just once and that was by the hot-hitting Murphree when he was called out on an inside curve ball that almost hit him in the chest. Siena pitching gave him few pithces to hit. He walked twice and scored three runs on the day.

"We played really well today," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "We had a lot of quality at bats. We didn't chase pitches in the dirt or outside. The last few years we couldn't go deep in the count. We have better pitch recognition on this team.

"Defensively, we turned three double plays and Andrew Darr made a heckuva throw from the outfield to cut down another runner. It was really a quality game in a lot of ways. Springston and our pitchers had a nice game."

The Hogs pounded 14 hits and all 16 of their 17 runs were earned. That brought a smile to hitting coach Todd Butler.

"We are taking our practice to the games," he said. "The things we are working on they are doing in the games. Murphree is on a tear, but some others are doing nice things, too.

"Our philosophy is to hit hard ground balls and let them turn into line drives. Let our line drives turn into homers. And, if we try to hit homers, know they will turn into strikeouts. We are taking that to the games and our line drives are turning into homers.

"Wilkins is as good a freshmen hitter as I've seen. What he did in those two at bats in the 12th was exactly the plan he said he would take at the start of the inning. We asked him to do something and he makes it happen. That's great hitting for a freshman."

By that, Butler meant the left hitting Wilkins would take away pitches to left field.

"They had a left in there until that inning and he was pitching me in," Wilkins said. "I thought when they went to the righthander, they might change it up and go away. They did and I just tried to go with it and drive it the other way."

His double went off the wall in the power alley in left center. Later in the inning, he drove a line drive over the bullpen in dead left field.

"I love taking them the other way," Wilkins said. "That's my favorite way of hitting. I was sitting away on those two at bats. I like going to the opposite field more than trying to be a power pull hitter."

Murphree's homer went to straight away center in the fourth inning. No one was on base this time, but Wilkins has had a great view of many of the Murphree blasts.

"He's on fire, he really is," Wilkins said. "I'm hitting ahead of him in the order and on a lot of his homers, I've had a great look at them. I've been on second base. I see the pitch coming in and think, 'Oh, here comes another one and there it goes. He's going to crush it.' Then it comes right back at me to center. It's been a lot of fun watching him."

Arkansas closes out the home stand with another single game against Siena at 12:05 p.m. Sunday.



Aaron Murphree watches his 11th homer of the season sail over the fence in center field.



Andy Wilkins makes a play from third base.



Cliff Springston was the winning pitcher for the Hogs.



Dave Van Horn gives instruction from the third base coaching box.



Tim Smalling follows through for an assist against Siena.

Photos by Marc F. Henning, Hawgs Illustrated

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