House Plays Hero Role Again

FAYETTEVILLE — Jacob House certainly has a flair for the dramatic.

Last season, House became an instant Arkansas baseball hero when his two-out, ninth-inning grand slam lifted the Razorbacks to an improbable win against South Carolina. The late-inning heroics were left up to House again Wednesday.

With the bases empty and one out in the bottom of the 10th, House sent a 1-2 pitch just over the right-field wall into the visiting bullpen as the soft-spoken sophomore gave Arkansas a much-needed 9-8 win against Kansas in front of a crowd of 3,109 in Baum Stadium

"(Coach Dave) Van Horn said after the game, he was like we just need to save you for the ninth inning," House said. "But it was a good swing and just a good win for everybody."

Arkansas (4-1) appeared to be in danger of dropping a second straight game to the Jayhawks. After falling behind 4-0 in the second, the Razorbacks rallied with two runs each in the fifth and sixth to tie the game. But a worn-down pitching staff couldn't hold the lead, forcing Arkansas to play catch up once again the late.

Trailing 7-5 in the eighth, the Razorbacks posted just their second three-run inning of the season to take a brief 8-7 lead. But a two-out Kansas rally in the ninth forced extra innings.

And so the stage was set again for more House heroics.

"When he went down and hit that slider on the line and took out the maintenance building there (two pitches earlier), I figured they were going to try to bust him in with a fastball," Van Horn said. "But that's how smart us coaches are, and he throws him a changeup and (Jacob) kept his hands back and buggy whipped it out of the park.

"I didn't know how close it was to getting out, but when I saw Jacob celebrating I knew this game was finally over."

Kansas Paul Smyth (2-3) gave up three runs in two-plus innings while Stephen Richards pitched the final two innings for the Hogs to record his first win.

More than the pitching, though, Van Horn was happy with the way the bats came alive down the stretch.

"I was really proud of our team, the way they battled back," Van Horn said. "I didn't know if we were going to win the game even going into the top of the ninth, but I know we got better tonight. And that's what I wanted to see.

"We needed to win the game obviously because we lost (Tuesday) night. You don't want to lose two games in a row and I think good teams, you just don't lose games back-to-back. You find a way to win, and we spotted them four runs there and they nickeled and dimed us with some flare hits. But I told them we've got a lot of game left, a lot of at-bats. And we have good hitters and maybe they're starting to come on."

Or in House's case, he's just doing what he's now become known for — playing the hero.

"Every time he's walking up there in the (10th inning), I think about that grand slam he hit (last year) against South Carolina," shortstop Scott Lyons said. "Then he pulled that one foul and I was like, that would have been awesome.

"But sure enough, he did it again and it was awesome."

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