TEMPE, Ariz. - Arkansas made the most of its down time during its trip to Arizona on Tuesday, spending time during the day with the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs' spring training complex is located in Mesa, Ariz., just 15 minutes away from where the Razorbacks stayed in Tempe.
During the morning visit, the Razorbacks watched the Cubs take batting practice and met players such as outfielder Alfonso Soriano. They also visited with Cubs manager Lou Pinella and bench coach Alan Trammell, the former Detroit Tigers shortstop.
"(Pinella) was real friendly," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He stood and hung out with us. We talked baseball, and we all got our pictures taken with him."
The visit was arranged by former Arkansas trainer Mark O'Neal, now the head trainer for the Cubs. Also visiting with the Razorbacks was Cubs bullpen coach Lester Strode, the father of Arkansas tennis player Blake Strode.
Ex-UA Players Pay Visit
Brian Walker was one of several former Razorbacks to pay a visit to the team before Tuesday night's game.
Walker, the former Arkansas catcher, is currently in the Phoenix area while taking part in minor league spring training camp with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Walker was taken in the 29th round by the Angels in the 2007 draft.
The Angels' minor league complex, where Walker is training, is located in Tempe, near the ASU campus. Walker expects to wind up with the Angels high Class A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
"It's a fun gig," Walker said. "I'm getting a chance to play, and hopefully I'll just keep moving up the ladder."
In addition to Walker, former Arkansas pitcher Nick Schmidt, rehabbing from elbow surgery after being drafted in the first round by the San Diego Padres, was expected to visit with the Razorbacks on Tuesday.
"It wasn't a problem to come out," Walker said. "I haven't seen them, but I've been watching them on the Internet."
Razorbacks Enjoy Local Flavor
After arriving in Arizona on Monday, the Razorbacks enjoyed dinner at the home of junior Andrew Darr, whose parents Chris and Carol cooked for the team.
Darr, who is from Gilbert, Ariz., is one of two Arkansas players from the area. Junior catcher Ryan Cisterna is also from Gilbert.
After dinner, the Razorbacks went through a short practice in Packard Stadium.
Bring On The Sun Devils
Arkansas opens Southeastern Conference play this weekend at home against Georgia, while the No. 2 Sun Devils don't open Pac-10 Conference play until March 28 when they host Southern California.
Van Horn said before the game he scheduled the game to see how the youthful Razorbacks would do against top competition. Also, ASU will travel to Arkansas next season.
"I wanted to get out here and get them back next year," Van Horn said. "It will be a great chance to see some great competition early, just to get ready for conference play."
Rain, Rain Go Away
The temperature at the start of the game in Tempe was 81 on Tuesday night, and rain isn't expected in the area until Sunday.
That didn't keep showers from being an issue in Packard Stadium.
While Arkansas was warming up before the home half of the second inning, the infield sprinklers briefly came on. Freshman pitcher James Mahler quickly went looking for cover from the water, which went off after about 25 seconds.
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By KURT VOIGHT
TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State tied the game with Ike Davis' second home run on the night.
The No. 2 Sun Devils then pulled ahead for good with a two-out, seventh-inning rally to down Arkansas 6-5 in a back-and-forth affair in front of 3,040 fans in Packard Stadium on Tuesday night.
Arkansas trailed 4-1 after six innings before rallying in the seventh. The Razorbacks (11-2) took a 5-4 lead on a 2-run single by Brett Eibner.
After falling behind for the first time, ASU (13-0) responded in the bottom of the seventh. Davis hit a one-out home run to deep right-center field, between the palm trees, to tie the game 5-5.
Four batters later, Raoul Torrez put the Sun Devils ahead for good with a two-out single that scored Marcel Champagnie.
Reyes Dorado got the win for ASU, striking out two in two-thirds of an inning of work. Kendall Korbal took the loss for Arkansas, giving up one run in two innings of work.
Aaron Murphree's streak of six-straight games with a home run for the Razorbacks came to an end in the game. However, Murphree still connected on a pair of doubles - finishing 2-for-4.
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Arkansas Sports Information Report
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Arkansas baseball team gave top-ranked Arizona State all they could handle but the Sun Devils held on for a hard-fought 6-5 win in front of 3,040 fans at Packard Stadium Tuesday night.
Stephen Sauer picked up his first save by getting Casey Coon looking to end the game with two on in the ninth inning. ASU skipper Pat Murphy made numerous pitching moves, including two separate appearances by Ike Davis, who pitched a total of 1.2-innings-hitless innings with four strikeouts.
Arizona State improves to 13-0 on the season and snaps the Razorbacks' six-game winning streak as Arkansas falls to 11-2 on the season.
The Razorbacks rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 5-4 lead. Aaron Murphree got things started with double down the right-field line and then came around to score on a Tim Smalling single up the middle.
ASU gave the Hogs a little help when Chase Leavitt grounded out to the second baseman, who threw it away allowing Smalling to score and ruining a double-play chance that would have ended the inning. Freshman center fielder Brett Eibner followed with a two-RBI single past through the left side that put the Razorbacks on top.
Murphree, Andy Wilkins and Eibner led the Hogs' 10-hit attack with two hits each. Eibner drove in three of the Razorbacks' five runs. Murphree's streak of six-straight games with a home run ended as he finished with two doubles.
ASU ace Mike Leake got the start on the mound and fanned seven while giving up four runs – three earned – on eight hits. Reyes Dorado (2-0) earned the win out of the pen with two-thirds of an inning. The Sun Devils struck out 14 Hogs on the night.
Davis also hit two of ASU's three home runs while Petey Paramore added two hits and two RBI to lead the Sun Devils.
Davis, who started the game at first base, quickly tied things at 5-5 in the bottom half of the inning with a one-out home run deep into the night beyond the right-field fence. The Sun Devils rallied for another run on Raoul Torrez's two-out RBI single in the seventh to take a 6-5 lead.
Arkansas sent freshman right-hander James Mahler to the hill for his fourth start of the season. Mahler pitched into the fifth inning but was relieved by Dallas Keuchel after walking his fifth batter of the game to lead off the inning. He allowed two runs on four hits with the damage coming from two solo home runs while striking out four.
The Hogs' pitching staff issued a season-high eight walks while the UA defense turned two double plays and allowed just one of the eight walks to score. Keuchel allowed two runs on three hits over two innings with two walks and a strikeout.
Kendall Korbal took his second loss of the season, allowing two runs on two hits with a walk and a strikeout.
ASU got on the scoreboard first with a two-out solo home run from shortstop Marcel Champagnie in the bottom of the second inning. Davis extended that lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning when he connected with a 1-2 Mahler offering and deposited it over the right-field wall.
The Razorbacks broke through in the top of the sixth inning on Eibner's RBI triple into the corner down the left field line. Eibner was then throw out at home plate on a ground ball to shortstop when he broke late from third base. Wilkins followed with his second hit of the game but Coon struck out to end the Hogs' threat.
Arizona State answered right back in the bottom half of the inning when Paramore lined a two-out, 1-2 offering from Keuchel into left field to go on top 4-1.
The Hogs and Sun Devils finish their series at 8:35 p.m. Wednesday from Packard Stadium.
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THE INSIDE PITCH
Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Arizona State Sun Devils
WHEN: 8:30 p.m., today WHERE: Packard Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
SERIES: 1-2 LAST MEETING: Arizona State won 6-5 on Tuesday.
ON THE AIR: KFAY 1030 AM; KURM 790 AM, 100.3 FM; KHGG 1580 AM, 103.1 FM; KXIO 106.9 FM
Arizona St. 6, Arkansas 5
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