Eibner's gem lifts Arkansas

ATHENS, Ga. – Brett Eibner was not coming out of this game. His right arm had gotten Arkansas this far and there was no way anybody was going to pull him off that pitching mound with just one inning to go.

"Really I didn't feel anything until probably when I got off the mound in the eighth inning," Eibner said. "That's when I thought, ‘Oh man my arm is getting a little heavy.' But as soon as I got back out there and the crowd was going, I was like I'm ready to go. So it kind of disappeared. I was probably actually too jacked up there in the ninth and I could have taken it down a little bit, but it worked out."

It certainly did.

Making his first pitching appearance ever in a Southeastern Conference game, Eibner delivered the game of his life. And he did so when the Razorbacks needed it the most. In a complete-game effort, the 6-foot-4 sophomore right-hander completely dominated Georgia on Sunday, tossing a one-hit shutout in a 2-0 Arkansas win in front of a crowd of 2,858 at Foley Field.

"I told (Brett) after the game, if you would have walked the bases loaded with less than two outs I wasn't pulling you," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "That was his game, and he deserved it."

Eibner struck out 12 Georgia batters - the most by an Arkansas pitcher since Jess Todd's 17 Ks at the 2007 SEC Tournament. His one-hitter was also the first by a Razorback since Richie Nye on March 29, 1996, against South Carolina.

And Arkansas (26-11, 11-6) needed every bit of Eibner's great effort to avoid a three-game sweep against the Bulldogs (31-8, 13-5).

"I told them before the game, this is the biggest game of the year," Van Horn said. "We've got to leave here 11-6 (in the SEC). The league is making a run and you can't get swept. Just don't get swept, and they found a way to do it."

While Eibner was almost perfect - allowing just four Georgia hitters to reach base - the Bulldogs' pitching pair of Justin Grimm and Jeff Walters was nearly as effective. But when the Hogs had their one chance to score Sunday, they made the most of it, getting a two-run double from Chase Leavitt in the sixth inning for the only runs of the game.

"We know when our pitcher is going out there and giving it all he has, you want to come through for him," Leavitt said. "I mean I was feeling good and comfortable at the plate all day, so I knew it just a matter of time before I got one. I was just glad I could come through on that one."

After that it was just more of Eibner. Retiring 17 in a row at one point and 20 of the last 21 batters he faced, Eibner brought his best stuff to the mound Sunday.

And he wasn't coming out of this one until the job was done.

"He's just good," Georgia coach David Perno said. "He was effectively wild in the early innings and then he just got better."

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