Andrew Darr saved a homer in the top of the 10th with a catch above the wall in leftfield, then slammed a line drive deep over the same wall in the bottom of the inning to lead Arkansas to a 7-5, 10-inning victory over Washington State.
The Hogs swept the doubleheader on opening day. They will take Saturday off with forecasts for cold, wet and possibly snowy conditions. Sun is forecast on Sunday when the three-game series will be completed with an 11:05 a.m. start.
Washington State took a 5-2 lead in the top of the sixth when Matt Argropoulos slammed a three-run home run off of Jeremy Heatley. But the Hogs answered with three in the bottom of the sixth, the final two on a two-run single to right by freshman catcher James McCann.
Andy Wilkins had three hits, three runs and three RBI in the nightcap to lead UA batters. McCann added two hits as the Hogs pounded out 12 for the game.
Starter T. J. Forrest gave up three hits and two runs, just one earned, in four innings. Heatley gave up three in his two innings. Stephen Richards gave up one hit with five strikeouts over his three innings of work. Zack Cox worked the 10th for the victory.
Cox did allow the long fly to left in the 10th that Darr snared just a few inches above the wall. Darr said he got a good read on the fly, wind blown with a breeze from foul poul to foul pole, and some help from centerfielder Brett Eibner.
"Brett was screaming track, track and find the wall," Darr said. "I did get to the wall and then find it. I think my wrist was even with the top of the ball, so it might have been just a little bit over.
"I've never been associated with anything like that. I sure haven't ever done that, catch one and then hit a walk-off."
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn figured as much.
"I would guess that's a first for Andrew, something like that," Van Horn said. "The lefthander got him with the first curve and he hung the second pitch curve a little. We all know how hard Andrew can hit one and he got that one pretty good. Those were two big plays for him."
The Hogs saw nine Washington State hurlers. Van Horn liked them all.
"That was really good pitching," Van Horn said. "They threw a lot of lefthanders at us. We had a lot of lefties in our lineup. I told them we were just going to leave them out there and see what they could do against them.
"That was good competition, two good teams. You usually don't play games like this in the opener and that was a good team. I thought they did a nice job with their pitching."
Senior captain Ben Tschepikow had four hits on the day. He got some teasing from teammates after slamming a two-run homer for the winning edge in the first game.
"Dallas said I must be on steroids," he said. "I told him, 'Yeah, the A-rod stuff.' Just kidding. That's what I told him when he said it."
Tschepikow, one of five lefty hitters in the UA starting lineup, didn't think mind seeing all the lefty pitching.
"Every year in college baseball, there seems to be more lefty pitchers," he said. "We have a lot of lefty pitching on our staff now so we see them in scrimmages. It really doesn't matter. The ball gets there the same way to me. It doesn't matter."
Van Horn went with a lot of seniors in his lineup, but he didn't flinch with going with a true freshman catcher to finish off the ninth in the opener and then starting him in the nightcap. James McCann threw out two runners and also had two big hits.
"I thought McCann's hit in the second game was the biggest of the day," Van Horn said. "We started the inning down three, got one in and had runners on second and third with two out. He got them in with his hit. If he didn't get that hit, we might have stranded two and that was big.
"We pulled Ryan Cisterna in the eighth for a pinch runner trying to get an extra run in, so we didn't have any hesitation in going with a freshman catcher. He's not a normal freshman."
Darr Stars to Give Hogs Sweep, 7-5
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