FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas senior Aaron Murphree is on a home run terror never seen around Baum Stadium.
Murphree hit three more home runs on Friday afternoon in front of 673 fans in a 14-5 win over Siena. He now has 10 home runs in 10 games this season. Even more unheard of is that he has hit eight in the last four games and five home runs in the last three games.
“[Aaron] Murphree’s unbelievable right now,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “It’s just one of those things where he’s really comfortable and confident. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Murphree’s streak began with two home runs on Sunday, March 2, against Ohio State in the Domino’s Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic in College Station, Texas. He then connected for one in the opening game of a doubleheader against South Dakota State on Wednesday and followed that up with two more home runs in the nightcap.
Murphree finished the game 3 for 4 with four RBI as his averaged jumped to .487 (19 for 39) for the season with 16 runs scored, 24 RBI and a 1.359 slugging percentage. His third home run of the game in the eighth inning cleared the 40-foot-high batters’ eye in center field and landed an estimated 485-feet away from home plate.
The Hogs’ middle infield also did some damage, going a combined 8 for 10 on Friday. Second baseman Ben Tschepikow was 4 for 5 with a RBI and three runs scored while Smalling added four hits as well with two RBI. Smalling has raised his average 193 points over the last three games with seven hits in his last 10 at bats.
Andy Wilkins and Jacob House both connected for their third home runs of the year on Friday. The Razorbacks as a team have now hit 17 home runs in their last four games.
Dallas Keuchel earned the win out of the bullpen to improve to 2-0. He pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief with two strikeouts. Mike Bolsinger started and pitched 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
The Saints got out to a quick start in the first inning with a RBI double off the bat of Chris Klepps. Jacob Willis followed with a RBI single just over the glove of Ben Tschepikow at second base to give Siena a 2-0 lead.
Wilkins answered quickly with his second home run in as many games. The towering two-run home run into Lake Norm beyond the right-field wall. With two outs in the first, Murphree connected for his eighth home run of the season to put Arkansas on 4-2. The Hogs added a run in the second on Brett Eibner’s sacrifice fly to right field to go up 5-2.
Murphree added his second home run of the game in the third inning with a line drive that hit halfway up the center-field batters eye.
The Hogs’ lead went to 8-2 in the fourth inning when Jacob House blasted his third home run of the season. The two-run shot came with two outs and cleared the Saints’ bullpen in right field.
Siena got two runs back in the top of the fifth inning and chased Bolsinger from the game. Wills drove in his second run of the game with a solo home run into the Hogs’ bullpen. Dallas Keuchel came on for Bolsinger with two outs and runners on first and second base and surrendered a RBI single before retiring the final out of the inning.
The Razorbacks scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on two-out RBI singles from Chase Leavitt and Brett Eibner to extend the lead to 10-4. UA got two more two-out RBI singles in the bottom of the sixth from Tschepikow and Tim Smalling. The Saints held Arkansas without a run for the first time in the seventh, working around a double by Wilkins.
Redshirt freshman right-hander Sam Murphy made his first relief as a Razorback. He worked the final two innings, allowing one run on three hits.
The series continues at 1:05 p.m. Saturday from Baum Stadium with southpaw Cliff Springston starting for the Razorbacks.