FAYETTEVILLE — He might not exactly be back to his 2007 form, but at least Casey Coon is back.
Sidelined with a left ankle injury since April 1, Coon returned to the Arkansas lineup the past two days and brought some of his solid hitting stroke with him. After going 1-for-3 with a run batted in Tuesday, Coon's bat was even more lively Wednesday as the Razorbacks completed the two-game sweep with a 7-1 win against Northern Colorado in front of 871 at Baum Stadium.
"I'm excited as can be," Coon said. "I just want to help contribute and help keep our hopes alive to make the SEC Tournament. So we're pretty excited going into this weekend and I'm just happy to be back."
A senior left fielder, Coon is still not 100 percent after missing 12 games with the ankle injury. And few would argue he's close to hitting like he did last season — when he finished with a team-best 71 RBIs. But against the Bears on Wednesaday, Coon did look his old self.
Finishing 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored — including a key two-out, two-run single in third inning — Coon showed just how much he can help the Diamond Hogs (24-17) when he's in the everyday order.
"I heard (Casey) make the comment today that he's just glad to be back in the lineup," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "Actually, he said it last night and today I heard him say it.
"You know, he's been frustrated, he wants to play, he's an older kid. But when he's going offensively, he can really help us. He's usually a clutch hitter and that was a big clutch two-out hit today that put us over the hump a little bit and let us relax in that dugout. I'm just glad to see him back out there. Now if we can get (Sean) Jones swinging it and one day we'll hopefully get (Andy) Wilkins back before the season is over. So we're getting there."
Coon was one of seven Razorbacks to collect at least one hit Wednesday, while on the other side Northern Colorado (14-26) had no answer for Arkansas' collection of pitchers.
Working on a pitch count, Brett Eibner (3-1) went three scoreless innings for the win. James Mahler, Travis Hill and Kendal Korbal followed with strong work of their own before Shaun Seibert finally allowed Northern Colorado's lone run in the top of the ninth inning.
"I thought our pitchers did a tremendous job," Van Horn said. "The first four guys, it was zip zip and we're in the dugout."
Arkansas 7, Northern Colorado 1
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