FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas has been playing like the best team in the Southeastern Conference for a few weeks. Now it can officially lay claim to that title.
The No. 9 Razorbacks beat Georgia 13-5 Sunday at Baum Stadium for their 11th straight win and 18th in 19 games. That, coupled with a South Carolina loss to Ole Miss, leaves Arkansas alone atop the SEC overall standings at the midpoint of the conference season.
"It's a good spot to be," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "We know we've got a lot of work left. We've played 15 conference games and it's going to get tougher, obviously, but we feel good about where we're at.
"It was a great weekend for our team. It was just a great week, really. We played two solid games Tuesday and Wednesday against New Mexico that kind of propelled us into this sweep."
Monk Kreder got things started in the inning with a two-run home run to extend his team-leading hit streak to 19 games. Known for his power coming in from Howard Junior College before the season, Kreder's home run was just his second of the season.
"It felt good," Kreder said. "Coach Van Horn joked and said I needed to flare one because my first two at-bats I actually hit harder than the home run. I just try sticking to my plan and know the home runs will come. If I try to create power or elevating the ball I'll start popping up or getting into jams. I stick with my plan and the rest takes care of itself."
The home run ignited the potent Arkansas offense. Bo Bigham later in the inning walked with the bases loaded, Andy Wilkins added a 2-run double and Zack Cox scored from third base on a wild pitch. When the inning was all said and done the Razorbacks led 12-3.
Arkansas recorded 12 hits Sunday. The Razorbacks have at least 10 hits in 16 consecutive games.
"It's unreal," Kreder said. "At the beginning of the year I didn't think our offense was clicking as a whole. Coach (Todd) Butler said good teams hit better in the SEC and that's kind of been our deal this year. All of a sudden you look up and however many games in a row we're getting 10-plus hits. Hitting is contagious and with everybody swinging the way they are 1 through 9 it's kind of a pick your poison deal. It's a lot of fun to be a part of. It's a lot easier hitting when everybody around you is hitting."
Pitching and defense was just as impressive against the Bulldogs (11-25, 3-12). Brett Eibner, the pitching and offensive star Saturday, added a fine defensive play to his weekend highlight reel in the top of the second inning, diving for a ball in the outfield for the third out of the inning. Georgia had two base-runners on at the time but the catch preserved a 1-1 game.
"They had guys on with two outs and were running on contact," Eibner said. "It was kind of weird the way the ball played because the wind was blowing in and it was almost like the ball kept carrying on me. I had to readjust my route and lay out for it. I ended up making the catch but that's my job. I have to make plays to help the pitching staff out."
It helped Razorback freshman DJ Baxendale, making his first career SEC start. Baxendale went four innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He left with a 4-2 lead but earned a no-decision.
"He threw a little more off-speed stuff today, some change-ups," Van Horn said. "He had two really good innings and two just OK innings but he threw the ball with good velocity. I think he was trying to do a little too much. We were really looking to get four out of him and that's what we got."
TJ Forrest pitched two innings in relief to pick up his sixth win of the year.
Around the Bases
Andy Wilkins finished Sunday 1-for-4 with three RBIs. The junior first baseman now has a team-leading 52 RBIs this season…Collin Kuhn tied a school-record with three hit-by-pitches Sunday. Kuhn has been hit by 20 pitches this season, just two shy of the school-record set by Joe Jester in 1999...Zack Cox finished Sunday 2-for-5 from the plate to extend his hit streak to 12 games. Cox has reached base in all 37 games this season.