Tschepikow Bummed About Injury

OMAHA, Neb. - Arkansas senior Ben Tschepikow watched his teammates take batting practice Thursday afternoon, his heart hurting as badly as his broken left ring finger.

Tschepikow broke the finger after being hit by a pitch in the sixth inning of Arkansas' 4-3 win Wednesday night over Virginia. And the Fayetteville native admitted Thursday that his collegiate career was most likely over.

"This wasn't how I wanted to end my career," Tschepikow said. "It's something that happened, and I have to stay positive. This team's fun to watch. We're never out of it. So I'm just trying to be more of a cheerleader and make sure everyone's in the game. I want to get us going."

Tschepikow said Thursday he knew immediately that his finger was badly hurt.

"It hurt pretty bad. I knew something was wrong right away," Tschepikow said. "I was playing out there in pain (afterward) and then just couldn't swing the bat when it was my turn to hit. I didn't want to hurt the team. I had to step out. It was such a hard decision."

The Razorbacks acted like they realized what kind of a loss Tschepikow was to the lineup.

"He's a fifth-year senior, one of our captains, and he's been there for us in tight spots throughout the postseason," senior outfielder Andrew Darr said. "He was so clutch. We'll miss him, but we'll just have to keep pressing on."

Tschepikow was especially clutch in the Norman (Okla.) Regional. He was 7-for-16 (.438) with six runs and eight RBIs in wins over Washington State and Oklahoma (twice).

Rocking Ranaudo

The Razorbacks won't be intimidated by LSU starting pitcher Anthony Ranaudo, a 6-foot-7 sophomore right-hander with a 10-3 mark and 3.03 earned run average. Ranaudo was the starter in Arkansas' 11-4 victory over LSU on May 2 in Fayetteville.

Ranaudo gave up five earned runs on five hits in six innings, but still struck out seven.

"We just got to him early," said sophomore Andy Wilkins, who smacked a second-inning home run off Ranaudo in that contest. "Most people haven't been able to do that. We'll have to do that."

LSU coach Paul Mainieri said he was eager to get Ranaudo back on the mound this afternoon. Ranaudo lasted only 3 1/3 innings Saturday night against Virginia, his shortest start this season.

Mainieri said he heard questions recently asking why he intended to start Ranaudo against the Razorbacks.

"I've always been the kind of guy that whenever one of my players who I count on has a bad game, I want to get them back on the horse as soon as a possible," Mainieri said. "Anthony has been our stallion, our guy, all year.

"The outing at Arkansas wasn't as bad as people think. He gave up five runs in one inning."

Rare Batting Practice

Arkansas worked out for about an hour at the Strike Zone indoor baseball facility in Omaha. The Razorbacks stretched and then split up by position. The pitchers took turns throwing off mounds, and the position players alternated during batting practice.

The relief pitchers finished a bit early, so they decided to take some batting practice on their own — in the automated cages being used minutes earlier by teenagers. They didn't make too much consistent contact, but they entertained one another.

Mike Bolsinger, T.J. Forrest, Justin Wells and Stephen Richards all swung at a few pitches.

"That was pretty hilarious," Forrest said. "I don't think I'll be hitting in any games anytime soon."

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