TULSA, Okla. — At the time, Brett Eibner's towering three-run home run merely seemed like the exclamation point on a budding blowout.
As Eibner rounded the bases Tuesday night after his seventh home run this season, the Razorbacks couldn't have thought they'd end up fighting to win their 27th game.
After all, Eibner's third-inning blast in J.L. Johnson Stadium put Arkansas up by seven runs. Oral Roberts kept battling back, though, drawing to as close as two runs before falling 9-6 to the 12th-ranked Razorbacks in front of a near-sellout crowd of 2,387.
That made Arkansas' third-inning explosion seem all the more important.
"I'm glad we put together the big inning," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "When we had already punched in a couple, we were talking about hitting about five doubles in a row. Eibner cleared them and home runs sometimes slow your rally down. But it was nice to have the runs."
The Razorbacks (27-11) weathered the Golden Eagles' rally, even as ORU (21-10) threw its top two pitchers, because they built an early lead.
Sophomore right-hander Sam Murphy pitched strong in relief, Arkansas tacked on two ninth-inning runs and senior left-hander Stephen Richards threw a 1-2-3 ninth.
But it was Arkansas' third-inning eruption that helped the Razorbacks notch consecutive wins for the first time since their two-game sweep of Arizona State on April 7-8.
"We were up 7-0, but we knew they would make a run at us," Van Horn said. "And they did."
Arkansas opened its scoring in the second on James McCann's two-out infield single before posting the half-dozen runs in the third. Chase Leavitt got plunked to start the inning, stole second base and scored on Scott Lyons' single to center. Ben Tschepikow followed with a single to left before Andy Wilkins flied out to center.
Andrew Darr was hit by a pitch, and Zack Cox followed with his second double of the night, one of four hits for the freshman third baseman. Cox's double drove in two runs and also knocked ORU starter Chandler Griffin from the game.
Eibner greeted right-hander Spencer Roberts by crushing a low 3-1 fastball over the center-field fence.
"I didn't really know how important it was at the time," Eibner said. "We had a big lead there in the third. But they put on two runs and then got a few more. It turned out to be a pretty big AB. I'm glad I got it when I did."
Arkansas 9, ORU 6
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