Arkansas 5, Louisiana Tech 4
NORTH LITTLE ROCK - Andy Wilkins' one-out single scored Zack Cox in the 10th inning to complete Arkansas' 5-4 win over Louisiana Tech Tuesday night in front of a record-crowd at Dickey-Stephens Park.
The No. 12 Razorbacks overcame a four-run second inning by the Bulldogs to win their first game in central Arkansas in 24 years. The Arkansas bullpen was crucial in the comeback, holding Louisiana Tech scoreless for the game's final eight innings.
It was Arkansas' seventh come-from-behind win this season when trailing after seven innings and the Razorbacks (38-11) improved to 3-0 in extra-inning games.
"We've been behind so much this year that it's not a big deal to use," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "It's disappointing that we got behind like that but we felt like we had plenty of innings left. We felt we would score eight or nine runs and only ended up with five, but it was enough."
Wilkins' hit almost was for not. He hit a ball deep to right center field that the Bulldog right fielder Devon Dageford was able to chase down. He tripped on center fielder Justin Gordey's foot, however, allowing Cox - who was holding at second base - to advance home.
"It looked like it was going to the gap when it left the bat but it kind of got hung up in that wind that was blowing in from right," Van Horn said. "They got tangled up and I'm glad it dropped."
Brett Eibner's eighth inning RBI single scored Bo Bigham to tie the game 4-4. Eibner eventually advanced to third base and represented the go-ahead run before designated hitter Tom Hauskey struck out to end the threat.
Eibner, who is tied for the SEC-lead with 17 home runs, finished the game 3-for-4 with an RBI and a pair of doubles.
"Home runs happen but I'm looking to get base hits, get on base and score runs," Eibner said. "Nothing has changed; I'm just doing what I can to get in there and help the team win.
"We have confidence that we can win late in ballgames. We hope it can carry on into the postseason and we're looking to that."
Jordan Pratt worked a pair of scoreless innings to earn his third win of the season and close out his third game in five days. The junior right-hander gave up just one hit and struck out three batters for the Razorbacks.
DJ Baxendale, Geoffrey Davenport and Jeremy Heatley had all worked scoreless innings to get to Pratt, giving up just a combined four hits. For Baxendale, who attended Sylvan Hills High School just up the road from Dickey-Stephens Park, it was a nice rebound after a frustrating 1 1/3-inning performance in a loss at Ole Miss on Saturday.
"He threw well and just missed some spots," Van Horn said. "He had some borderline pitches that could have gone either way and I thought he pitched well pitching in his hometown."
The game had an NCAA Regional-like feel with a record 9,426 fans in attendance for a midweek nonconference game in the Razorbacks' first trip to the Little Rock area since 1986.
They were left stunned early, however, as Louisiana Tech (25-23) roughed up Arkansas starter Randall Fant for four runs on five hits in the second inning to build a 4-0 lead.
The Razorbacks cut into that in that with a pair of RBIs from Hauskey and Travis Sample in the bottom half of the inning to pull within 4-2.
Arkansas trimmed the lead to 4-3 in the fourth inning after Eibner reached with a leadoff double and scored on a Sample fielder's choice. The Hogs had several more chances to cut into the lead throughout the evening but stranded seven runners on base.
Mistakes on the base pads stymied what looked to be an early rally. Collin Kuhn led off the first inning with a triple but got caught in a 5-2-4-3-6-1 double play off the bat of Bigham to kill the early threat.
"That was bad base-running," Van Horn said. "Collin will tell you he made a mistake and he was only supposed to go on a ball hit up the middle. He knew what to do and he came in and apologized.
"It was sloppy and I think the guys were a little nervous wanting to play well in front of all these fans tonight. They settled down there about the fourth inning and we were able to play better baseball."
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