Arkansas had a slow start offensively but found a way to retire Vanderbilt’s ace, Kumar Rocker early on to sail to a _____ victory on Thursday night.
Vanderbilt got busy early when Franklin lost the baseball in the air that fell between him and a couple of other Hogs. That helped set up a two run RBI double by CJ Rodriguez.
Rocker buzzed through the Arkansas lineup in the first inning retiring his first three batters.
An RBI single by Ethan Bates and a hit by pitch on Matt Goodheart would bring two runs in to tie the ball game.
The bases were loaded in the fourth for Ryan Costeiu who allowed another walk to bring in a Vanderbilt runner. That would be the last time Arkansas would trail.
Arkansas would take the lead in the fourth I. I g for good on a two run RBI double by Matt Goodyear to make it 5-3.
In the fifth, Arkansas would extend their lead 6-3 with an RBI sac-fly by Bates to bring in Casey Opitz.
Caden Monke would enter the game in the sixth to replace Ryan Costeiu. He would pitch the next inning and a half before he would surrender the mound to Kevin Kopps in the seventh inning.
Kopps would pitch the remainder of the game and inherited a 2-0 count. Seven pitches later he struck out the side to go to the bottom of the seventh.
To start the top of the eight, Kopps would throw the next four pitches for strikes. The amazing part of the inning was the Vanderbilt batters on deck were standing there knowing what their fate was about to be. K’s.
In the final stanza Kopps would record the first two strike outs of the inning. Then, a grounder to the short stop Battles would be fielded and thrown on a rope to Cullen Smith at first to win the game 6-4.
Arkansas’ win on Thursday ensures them that they will not play again until Saturday in the semifinals. Many said they didn’t really care about the conference tournament but this matchup against Vanderbilt proved otherwise and what a game that was.
Arkansas improves to 44-10 on the season.
P.S. Kevin Kopps ERA went from 0.75 to 0.68 after tonight’s performance versus the Commodores.