The Arkansas Razorbacks swept Appalachian State in the series finale Sunday, which was the 2,000th win in program history.
Tyler Spoon had a nice piece of two out hitting to get the Hogs on the board in the bottom of the first. He lined a shot into the right-center gap for an RBI-double scoring Andrew Benintendi, who walked to start the inning.
Freshman Alex Phillips got the start for the Diamond Hogs and had no problem rolling through the first inning, but he found trouble in the second. He gave up a right field bomb to Appalachian State's Michael Pierson to lead off the inning. Phillips didn't get any help from his defense as second baseman Brian Anderson, who is still getting use to his new position, dropped the ball while attempting to turn a double play. The Mountaineers got crafty with a bunt single and a safety-squeeze to get their second run on the board before Phillips worked out of the jam.
Do you remember that wild left-handed pitcher in your Little League that everyone hating facing? I'm guessing Appalachian State starting pitcher Jeffery Springs was that guy in his Little League. He plunked Jake Wise in the head to start the bottom of the second and then hit Bobby Wernes in the back. Arkansas manufactured two runs without recording a hit. Freshman Andrew Benintendi tied the game up by drawing a bases loaded walk. That was his first career RBI despite no yet recording his first career hit. Joe Serrano drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly to center. Springs ended his day after five innings that included five walks and three hit batsman.
It is safe to say that the Sunday starting pitcher role is still up for grabs. Phillips left the game after three innings of work and giving up three runs, two of them earned. Freshman Zach Jackson entered in the fourth and threw three hitless innings of relief. Junior Jacob Stone picked up the win by throwing a scoreless seventh. Colin Poche looked good throwing a scoreless eighth, even though he is dealing with arm soreness. Jackson Lowery shut the door for the Hogs in the ninth.
The Hogs finally got their bats going in the bottom of the seventh in an inning where the Mountaineers switched pitchers as much as Amanda Bynes switches personalities. Finally, Appalachian State put in a pitcher that threw strikes and Arkansas' hitters knew exactly what to do with him. Serrano lined an RBI double into right center and Brian Anderson knocked him in with an RBI single to center.
Appalachian State wasn't done walking and plunking Hog batters in the bottom of the eighth. Two walks and a hit-by-pitch setup for a bases loaded RBI hit-by-pitch for Michael Bernal. Benintendi hit a RBI groundout to first scoring Brett McAfee. Jacob Wise also score on the play as Appalachian State's first baseman turned the play into what looked like snow ball fight.
There was a good turnout for the Hog's opening series, as 14,322 fans made it out to Baum Stadium over the three game series. The fair weather helped on Sunday when 5,072 made it out for the series conclusion.
The Hogs are back in action this weekend for a three game series with Eastern Illinois, who went 1-3 this weekend at No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette. First pitch of the series is scheduled for 3:05pm on Friday.