Fifth-year senior Ben Tschepikow sliced a two-run homer to left field to power the Razorbacks to a 4-2 victory over Washington State to open a doubleheader.
Dallas Keuchel and Justin Wells combined to scatter five WSU hits. Keuchel gave up a two-run homer in the top of the fourth for the only Cougar runs. Wells got the save with three solid innings in relief.
The Hogs had new uniforms, with bright red on the side of the white jerseys and red shoulder patches. They also sported long pants, all the way to the top of the shoes. Baum Stadium had a new look, too. The running Razorback is on the outfield wall in both power alleys. Green fences with heavy padded were added in front of the dugouts. Batting coach Todd Butler is now in the third-base coaching box with skipper Dave Van Horn in the dugout when the Hogs bat.
"I think they kind of look like football jerseys. But I'm not going to complain about them. We get to wear our pants down. I like that better than pants up.
"We've been arguing about (new uniforms) for a couple of years. I think (Coach) Butler was the one that got it pushed through on the pants.
"I love the long pants. My girlfriend was joking with me, she doesn't like the long pants. She thinks the old school guys look better – Babe Ruth and all them – with the pants up. I had to beg to differ.
"Coach Van Horn has liked the high socks because he thinks that shows where the strike zone starts."
"The coaches told us we could have facial hair, but the captains voted that down. I'm going to have to keep shaving."
Keuchel wanted a "statement" in the season opener and said Tschepikow took some kidding after his game winning homer.
"I thought it was big coming out the first game of the season and showing the pitching staff what it was going to take," Keuchel said. "I thought Wells did a good job of coming in and picking me up. I just wanted to show the freshmen and the new guys this is what we do here at Baum Stadium – we get wins.
"I was joking with Ben about getting on the steroids after hitting that first game home run," Keuchel said. "That was key. Ben has beenhere five years and I expect a lot out of him. He's clutch. Hopefully we'll getthese freshmen and newcomers in and get rolling."
The Hogs got some pop in the top of the lineup. Leadoff batter Chase Leavitt was three for four with a run scored. Tschepikow followed him in the two hole with three for five. Ryan Cisterna also had two hits for the Hogs.
Washington State never threatened aside from Jared Prince's two-run homer in the fourth.
"That was a fastball, a two-seamer and it slipped," Keuchel said. "I knew it was not a good pitch."
But there were few others he wanted back. He threw 84 pitches in his six innings.
"I had a limit of 90, but I felt like I had a few more innings left," he said. "I was glad to give it up to Wells."
Wells was greeted with a hard shot right at him to open the seventh, but he snared it in front of his face. He got a strikeout-throw-'em-out double play for the first two outs in the ninth after Andy Wilkins committed an error at third to open the frame. Freshman catcher James McCann, taking over for Cisterna to start the ninth, gunned down the runner.
The Hogs scored first in the bottom of the second. Cisterna doubled to center, followed by an RBI single to right by Scott Lyons. An infield single by Tschepikow and a walk to Brett Eibner loaded the bases. Lyons scored on a passed ball.
Attendance for the doubleheader was 6,523 (actual) and 8,293 (paid).