Diamond Hogs the aggressor in Game 3 win

By: Matt Jones
Published: Sunday, May 14, 2017
Arkansas catcher Grant Koch hits a home run during the first inning of a game against Vanderbilt on Sunday, May 14, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas catcher Grant Koch hits a home run during the first inning of a game against Vanderbilt on Sunday, May 14, 2017, in Fayetteville.

— Leadoff hitter Jake Arledge drove the first pitch he saw Sunday into left field for a single.

That set the tone as No. 16 Arkansas bounced back from Saturday's offensive struggles to beat Vanderbilt 7-1 at Baum Stadium. The Razorbacks (37-14, 16-10 SEC) won their first SEC series since a sweep of Georgia in mid-April.

Arkansas recorded 10 hits - including three home runs - one day after struggling against Vanderbilt's Kyle Wright, who struck out 11 and didn't allow a run in seven innings. The Razorbacks didn't record their first hit in that game until the sixth.

But Arledge's first-pitch single signaled an aggressive approach against Vanderbilt starter Chandler Day, who entered the game with a 7-1 record.

"We tried to be aggressive yesterday and we just ran into a guy who was awfully, awfully good," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "Today against Day, we just felt like he'd only walked 18 and let's just go after him.

"In the first inning we went after him a little more than just taking a pitch or two, and seeing what's up. It paid off with a couple runs."

Those two runs came off the bat of Grant Koch, whose two-run home run cleared the seats in left field to give the Razorbacks a 2-0 lead with two outs in the inning.

"I think it was the biggest swing of the day," Van Horn said. "It gave us a good feeling. That was the first time we'd had the lead since we won the game the other night in the bottom of the ninth."

It was Koch's second home run in as many at-bats. He also had a solo shot with two outs in the ninth inning Saturday as the Razorbacks scored two runs to avoid being shutout.

Koch said Arkansas carried over momentum from that two-run inning into Sunday.

"It's small victories like that - not going out quiet and carrying that into today," Koch said. "Good at-bats, one at a time is all we were thinking today.

"We came into today with a more aggressive mindset overall, not just at the plate. We came out on a mission: Sunday's our day and we've got to win on Sunday to be a good team."

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