Valparaiso landed a 4-0 shot on the way out of town, but Arkansas held on for a 9-6 victory for a two-game sweep in college baseball Wednesday at Baum Stadium.
Collin Kuhn, Ben Tschepikow and Andy Wilkins provided the offense and Brett Eibner gave the Hogs four solid innings as a starter. However, the Hogs needed Stephen Richards, their top reliever, to escape a little trouble at the end.
Valparaiso, down 9-2 after seven innings, had the tying runner at the plate before Richards ended it with a strikeout.
"Some of our relievers left some pitches up and they hit them hard," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "Give their hitters credit. And, a couple of soft ones fell in. That's baseball.
"Our guys didn't play as well at the end as you would want, but they are excited to get on to the weekend against what we think will be a very good team in California. They have set up their pitching for this series and we know they have three preseason All-Americans. They are talented."
Eibner got the victory to even his record at 1-1. He gave up two hits in four innings. He was given the victory because of a pitch count.
"We thought before the game we'd hold him to 75 and he was just to 63 when he came out, but we thought that was about right how it worked out," Van Horn said. "He located his fast ball. He pitched in and out. He definitely looked like an SEC pitcher out there today. He's struggled hitting, so we let him just concentrate on pitching tonight and he did well."
Chase Leavitt struggled in the leadoff spot, going 0 for 5 with four groundouts to second base. But the next three hitters in the lineup were plenty good. Kuhn had two hits, three walks and scored four times. Tschepikow was 3 for 4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Andy Wilkins, hitting fourth, was also 3 for 4 with 4 RBI. He hit a two-run homer, his fourth.
"Andy is doing what he did last year when he was healthy and all fall," Van Horn said. "He's the guy that can give us the power in the heart of the lineup. He's got 10 hits and 10 walks, so he's not forcing it. He has the power to turn a game around.
"Kuhn set the table. He was on base five times and that got us started. And, we played pretty good defense. We turned a big double play and Scott Lyons also dug one out for a big force play at second when they had the bases loaded."
Hogs top Crusaders, 9-6
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