Another Tuesday, another comeback

By: Matt Jones
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Arkansas outfielder Eric Cole bunts during a game against Missouri State on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas outfielder Eric Cole bunts during a game against Missouri State on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Fayetteville.

— For Arkansas the past month, Tuesdays have been for comebacks.

The No. 3 Razorbacks overcame a four-run deficit in the early innings to beat Missouri State 11-7 at Baum Stadium on Tuesday. Arkansas (28-10) improved to 10-1 this season in what are traditionally referred to as "midweek" games on Tuesday and Wednesday, although one against Dayton in March was played on a Thursday.

Being able to play from behind has been important for the Razorbacks during their run of midweek success. Arkansas overcame three-run deficits against Memphis in the fourth inning, Louisiana-Monroe in the second and Grambling State in the eighth the previous three weeks, and won all three games by one run.

"I feel with the lineup we have, there is never a game that we're out of," said Heston Kjerstad, who went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI and a home run against Missouri State. "It was a four-run deficit at one time, but we're all confident that we will be able to scratch some more runs on the board as the game goes along."

Arkansas entered the game near the top of the Southeastern Conference in several team statistical categories, including batting average (.308), slugging percentage (.506) and on-base percentage (.408), and leads the league with 400 hits and 60 home runs.

The Razorbacks had only one hit through three innings against the Bears, but began to chip away with a two-out rally in the fourth. Four straight batters reached, including Casey Martin with an RBI single that pulled Arkansas within 7-4.

The floodgates opened the next inning as the Razorbacks scored five times on five hits. Kjerstad led off with an opposite-field home run to left, Grant Koch had an RBI single up the middle and Martin gave Arkansas a 9-7 lead with a three-run home run that rode a wind gusting to 25 mph.

"I think they've got a lot of guys that are capable of getting the ball in the air and hitting the ball over the wall, and they showed that tonight," Missouri State coach Keith Guttin said.

"Regardless of the early score, you knew you were going to have to get them out for nine innings. That's a very good offensive team, and obviously they've got good arms as well."

It was the third time this season that Arkansas overcame a deficit of four runs to win at home. The Razorbacks trailed Southern Cal 5-1 in the sixth inning on March 4 and Auburn 4-0 in the fourth inning on April 8.

Arkansas won both of those games with walk-off hits, but made things easier against Missouri State by adding insurance runs in the sixth and seventh, and getting four shutout innings from reliever Jake Reindl.

"We've got a good team, obviously, so we're going to find a lot of different ways to win," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said.

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