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Arkansas-Eastern Illinois Doubleheader Recap: Twin Killing


Matt Ryerson-USA TODAY Sports

After staying in Fayetteville over the weekend and having to wait for the Razorbacks to manually shovel snow off the field at Baum Stadium, Eastern Illinois finally got to play (and lose to) Arkansas Monday afternoon, dropping both games of the doubleheader.

Baum Stadium was pretty much a ghost town for both games. It wouldn't be a stretch to say the players doubled, or maybe even tripled, the number of people in the stands.

The cold and snowy weather kept fans from making it to the stadium, and for a while it kept the offense out of the seven-inning games. It was also one of those days for shortstop Brett McAfee, who wore No. 37 instead of his typical No. 5 because he left his jersey at home.

But in game one, third baseman Bobby Wernes got the offense going in the second inning with a two-run single to left to score Rick Nomura and Chad Spanberger. Wernes finished the first game with a walk and a pair of singles to raise his batting average to .524.

EIU also kept it interesting in the sixth. With the game still undecided and runners on the corners, Christian Slazinik balked in a run to push the Arkansas lead to 3-1. Clark Eagan then stepped to the plate and drove in Nomura to set the 4-1 final score.

Dominic Taccolini pitched well, but like he should have against a team like EIU, going six innings and giving up just two hits while fanning four to lower his ERA to 2.86 and earn his second win of the young season.

In game two, Arkansas' bats were quiet for the first five innings before breaking out in the home half of the fifth with four runs on their way to an 8-1 win and doubleheader sweep.

Wernes YABO'd to lead off the Arkansas fifth to knot the game at 1-1, and Tyler Spoon's two-run double off the wall capped the scoring for the Razorback offense. But Michael Bernal bested Wernes' solo shot with a grand slam to extend the lead to 8-1 in the sixth.

Starting pitcher Zach Jackson lasted only 1.2 innings in game 2 (19/41 strikes), but Josh Alberius picked up his first collegiate win in relief after going three innings without giving up a hit. He retired all nine batters he faced and struck out two.

The final game of the the series is scheduled for noon Tuesday. Hopefully more show up for the finale. Baum was pretty eerie without the usual crowd in attendance.