Baums Away

Despite conditions that were not ideal for hitting, Arkansas' bats continue to stay hot as the Razorbacks down Missouri State 14-6 Wednesday night before 3,577 fans at Baum Stadium.

FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas and Missouri State weren't presented with an ideal night for hitting.

The wind whipped in from right field Wednesday night at Baum Stadium, making the United States and Arkansas flags stiff for most of the evening. So when Missouri State scored the game's first four runs in the third inning, the Razorbacks knew they had to deal with more than just the Bears' pitching.

Didn't matter. The Hogs exploded for 13 runs in the next four innings and cruised to a 14-6 victory before 3,577 fans in Fayetteville. Arkansas improved to 27-18 with the victory and swept the season series from the Bears, adding to its win on April 1 in Springfield, Mo.

For two innings, Arkansas' Sam Murphy and Missouri State's Aaron Meade seemed intent on turning Wednesday night's game into a pitcher's duel. Both starters retired the first six batters they faced, and they entered the third inning with the comfort of the persistent wind at their backs.

Neither made it to the fourth inning. And the teams eventually ended up using 12 pitchers. Missouri State only needed three third-inning at-bats to knock Murphy out of the game. The 6-foot right-hander had breezed through the first two innings, throwing 12 of his 16 pitches and five of his six first-pitches for strikes.

But three hitters into the third, Murphy was handing the ball to Arkansas pitching coach Dave Jorn and slowly walking back to the Razorbacks dugout. Matt Welch doubled, Ryan Mantle reached on a bunt single and No. 9 hitter Josh Mazzola drove a three-run home run through the wind and over the left-field fence.

The Bears added one more run off Arkansas pitcher Kendall Korbal, but the Hogs responded in the bottom of the third with some help from Meade.

Before leaving with one out in the frame, Meade had a runner reach on an error, issued a walk and hit three Razorbacks with a pitch. Sean Toler replaced Meade with Missouri State leading 4-2, and Arkansas' Tim Smalling drove in Ben Tschepikow with a groundout to close the gap to 4-3. Brett Eibner struck out to end the inning.

Still, the Hogs scored three runs without recording a hit in the inning. The Razorbacks didn't waste time showing they could earn runs, as well. Arkansas tallied five runs on four hits in the fourth, punctuated by Casey Coon's three-run home run to left field. Coon's first home run since March 21 gave Arkansas an 8-4 lead.

The Razorbacks added two runs in the fifth on a throwing error by Mazzola. They then scored three more in the sixth on Scott Lyons' two-run double and Tschepikow's RBI single.

The Hogs went scoreless in the seventh after sending 31 batters to the plate in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Ryan Cisterna's solo home run in the eighth gave the Hogs their 12th home run in the last four games and accounted for the game's final run.

In the meantime, Missouri State managed just two runs against Arkansas relievers Evan Cox, James Mahler, Travis Hill and Eibner after its three-run third. Cox earned his second win of the season despite giving up two runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Scott Lyons led the Razorbacks at the plate by going 4-for-5 with three runs and two RBI. He reached base in all five of his plate appearances.

The Razorbacks play next at 6:35 p.m. on Friday night when they open a three-game series against Alabama at Baum Stadium.


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