Harris' 'moment' enough for Hogs

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Saturday, March 9, 2019
Arkansas pinch hitter Trey Harris heads to first after hitting a two-run double against Louisiana Tech on Friday, March 8, 2019, during the seventh inning at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas pinch hitter Trey Harris heads to first after hitting a two-run double against Louisiana Tech on Friday, March 8, 2019, during the seventh inning at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Trey Harris picked a perfect time to notch his first runs batted in as an Arkansas Razorback.

The freshman from Little Rock Christian doubled just inside the third-base bag off Louisiana Tech closer Jonathan Fincher to score a couple of runs during a bizarre sequence in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead the No. 10 University of Arkansas to a 4-2 victory over the Bulldogs on Friday night.

The Razorbacks (11-1) won their sixth consecutive game and their 19th in a row over a nonconference opponent at home before a crowd of 3,852 at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Harris entered as a right-handed pinch hitter in the designated hitter spot for left-handed hitting Matt Goodheart after the Razorbacks mounted a two-out rally.

Side-arming left-hander Kyle Griffen (2-2) hit Dominic Fletcher with a 3-2 pitch with two outs to start the rally. Casey Opitz walked to put runners on first and second, and Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn called on Harris.

On another full count, Harris pulled a chopper between the bag and third baseman Tanner Huddleston. Third-base umpire Joseph Brown signaled foul on the play while reacting as if the ball was fair as Fletcher and Opitz wheeled around to score.

"Coach told me to look fastball because that guy was fastball heavy," Harris said.

Harris was 2 for 9 with a pair of singles on the season before drilling the game winner.

"It's kind of overwhelming," Harris said of providing the winning hit. "It's a moment I've always dreamed of, and I ended up getting my moment."

Louisiana Tech Coach Lane Burroughs came out to argue the play, and all the umpires huddled to discuss it. After the discussion broke up with the double allowed to stand, Burroughs came back out of the dugout to earn an automatic ejection from home plate umpire John Brammer.

"Honestly, I thought the ball was fair," Burroughs said. "I guess it was fair. But he definitely pointed foul. It's like I told him, he asked me to calm down, I said, 'I'm not fired up, we've just got to do something.'

"That's why I asked him, 'Y'all get together and figure it out.' After they huddled, you can't come back out. I said you're going to have to throw me out. I've got to fight for my team."

Van Horn hopped out of the Arkansas dugout pointing fair as Brown made his signal, then wheeled around to continue watching the play.

"The ball was fair," Van Horn said. "The umpire did point the wrong way. That's what I saw.

"Obviously when a ball is foul, umpires put their hands up in the air this way. When it's fair, they point which way it's fair. And that's a nonreviewable play because it was on the ground before it reached base."

Louisiana Tech (9-4) outhit the Razorbacks 7-6, but Arkansas stranded nine runners to the Bulldogs' six.

"We're not getting a lot of production from some guys right now," Van Horn said. "We're leaving a lot of guys on base, nine or 10, and it seemed like 20 to me."

Kevin Kopps (1-0) struck out three batters in two innings to pick up the victory, and Matt Cronin worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth to earn his fourth save.

Arkansas ace Isaiah Campbell and Louisiana Tech's Matt Miller locked up in a duel through the first six innings.

Campbell struck out 10 and allowed 2 earned runs on 7 hits with no walks on 98 pitches, but the big right-hander notched his first no-decision in his fourth start, unable to build on his 3-0 record.

"It was a good start, I just lost a little bit of command in the fourth inning, left a couple of pitches over the middle of the plate, and they got good swings off them and found some holes," Campbell said. "Overall, a good start though. I was spotting my fastball really well today, inside-outside, and just competing in the strike zone and letting my defense do the work."

Said the Arkansas catcher Opitz: "It's the same thing every outing. He knows what he wants to do every pitch. He goes out there and gets the job done every time."

Miller gave up 2 runs on 5 hits and 5 walks in 5⅔ innings.

Base runners abounded for both teams in the first inning, but only Arkansas capitalized with a pair of runs.

Louisiana Tech leadoff man Hunter Wells singled through the left side to open the game, then Taylor Young's infield chopper went for a single. Campbell induced a fly ball to center field on a 2-0 count to Mason Mallard, then got a double-play grounder from Steele Netterville.

Heston Kjerstad, Trevor Ezell and Fletcher drew consecutive one-out walks to load the bases for the Razorbacks in the bottom of the inning. Opitz's single through the pitcher's circle brought home two runs.

Louisiana Tech mounted a one-out rally in the fourth to tie the game.

Mallard singled to right field and came all the way around on Netterville's double just inside the third-base bag into the corner. Parker Bates singled through the middle to make it 2-2. Campbell was still in the stew after Bates stole second, but he fanned Shelton Wallace and Huddleston to escape.

Sports on 03/09/2019


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