Razorbacks look to build off a dramatic weekend

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Dave Van Horn, Arkansas head coach, reacts after a double by Jacob Nesbit in the second inning Saturday, March 30, 2019, during the game vs Ole Miss at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Dave Van Horn, Arkansas head coach, reacts after a double by Jacob Nesbit in the second inning Saturday, March 30, 2019, during the game vs Ole Miss at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas Razorbacks outlasted No. 15 Auburn in a marathon game late Friday night that might well serve as a pivot point on the season.

The Razorbacks benefited from an overturned "safe" call at home plate in the 10th inning that would have given Auburn a doubleheader sweep to post a 9-6 victory in 15 innings.

UP NEXT

ARKANSAS BASEBALL

vs. Oral Roberts

WHEN 6:30 p.m.

WHERE Baum-Walker Stadium

RECORDS ORU 14-15; Arkansas 24-8

STARTING PITCHERS ORU TBA; Arkansas RHP Marshall Denton (1-0, 2.84)

SERIES Arkansas leads 69-36-1 overall.

COACHES Ryan Folmar (229-146 in 7th year at ORU); Dave Van Horn (667-372 in 17th year at Arkansas)

RADIO Razorback Sports Network. Not all games will be carried by all affiliates. Check local listings.

INTERNET SEC-Network Plus

SHORT HOPS

Arkansas pitchers are No. 44 nationally in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.50) after ranking as high as fourth in that category in March with a better than 4-to-1 ratio. … ORU’s only back-to-back wins in the series since 1994 came in a three-game winning streak in 2007-09 with a 9-4 win in Fayetteville sandwiched around 5-3 and 12-2 wins in Tulsa. Arkansas has won nine in a row since then. … Arkansas is No. 50 in batting average (.289), No. 38 in pitching (3.56 ERA), No. 77 in fielding (.973) and No. 35 in scoring (7.1 runs per game). Oral Roberts is No. 181 in batting average (.257), No. 162 in pitching (4.94), No. 76 in fielding (.973) and No. 135 in scoring (6.0). … The teams have two common opponents in UALR and Western Illinois. Arkansas is 3-1 against those teams, with a three-game sweep of the Leathernecks, while Oral Roberts is 1-3 with a victory over the Trojans.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

TODAY Oral Roberts, 6:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY Off

THURSDAY Off

FRIDAY at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m. (SECN)

SATURDAY at Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)

SUNDAY at Vanderbilt, 1 p.m.

MONDAY Off

Coach Dave Van Horn predicted a series victory in his team meeting that night, and the Razorbacks delivered with an 8-0 victory Saturday, with Patrick Wicklander, Cody Scroggins and Zebulon Vermillion combining for the shutout.

"I told the team after the game on Friday that I didn't know if we were going to win that second game, but I loved the way we competed, and I was really proud of them and obviously it's a lot sweeter that we won it," Van Horn said. "I told them there's no doubt in my mind we're going to win tomorrow and we did. I wanted them to know that that's the way we felt and how confident we were."

Arkansas (24-8), which dropped a spot to No. 10 in this week's USA Today coaches poll after a 2-2 week, followed a four-game losing streak with consecutive victories heading into tonight's 6:30 game against Oral Roberts at Baum-Walker Stadium. Arkansas is 8-4 in the SEC and in a three-way tie for the lead in the SEC West along with LSU and Ole Miss.

The Razorbacks held a 3-0 lead behind ace Isaiah Campbell in the opener at Auburn on Friday afternoon before falling 6-3. Avoiding the doubleheader sweep by using weekend starter Cody Scroggins in relief and using closer Matt Cronin to hold down a tie game by getting five outs while stranding five runners in the eighth and ninth turned out to be huge.

"We changed things up a little bit, kind of sold out," said Van Horn, who called the pitching decisions a calculated gamble. "That was one of the craziest games I've ever been involved with, and I've been doing this a long time, so we just feel good about it."

The four-game losing streak Arkansas snapped was its longest since the 2016 team dropped its final 13 games.

The Razorbacks will start sophomore right-hander Marshall Denton (1-0, 2.84 ERA) for his third start of the season tonight. Oral Roberts (14-15).

The Razorbacks have a nine-game winning streak in the series dating to a 12-2 loss in Tulsa on April 15, 2008.

The game will mark the return to Baum-Walker Stadium of Hunter Wilson, a key Razorback reserve who had a grand slam against defending NCAA champion Florida in last year's SEC Tournament. Wilson plays second base for the Golden Eagles and has a .304 average with a home run, 18 RBI and a team-high 7 stolen bases.

Arkansas likely will continue with first baseman Trevor Ezell in the leadoff spot after Van Horn swapped Ezell and shortstop Casey Martin in the order to open the Auburn series. Ezell went 4 for 13 with 7 RBI in the three-game set.

Designated hitter Matt Goodheart went 6 for 13 (.462) at Auburn and continues to lead the SEC with a .462 average and a .553 on-base percentage in league play.

Dominic Fletcher has been one of the hottest Hogs, hitting .400 (6 of 15) versus Auburn with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI. Fletcher is batting .353 in SEC games to rank 13th in the conference.

The Golden Eagles have been involved in a large number of sweeps in the first half of the season.

Their first five weekend series they alternated sweeps, taking three from Murray State, then losing all three games at the Kleberg Bank College Classic (to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, BYU and Ohio State), before sweeping three from Purdue, dropping three in a row to Dallas Baptist, and sweeping Purdue Fort Wayne.

Oral Roberts split Summit League series with South Dakota State and North Dakota State, then got swept at Western Illinois last weekend.

The Golden Eagles downed Oklahoma 4-2 in 11 innings in Norman, Okla., in their midweek game last Tuesday.

Sports on 04/09/2019

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