LINCOLN, Neb. – Junior Ryan Cisterna got the University of Arkansas baseball team started in the top of the eighth inning with a two run blast over the leftfield wall starting a six-run inning and powering the Razorbacks to a 9-4 victory over the University of Nebraska on Wednesday afternoon at Hawks Field in Lincoln, Neb.
The Arkansas win ends a three-game skid and improves it to 13-6 on the season while the Nebraska loss ends a 14-game winning streak and drops the Cornhuskers to 15-3. The win is also number 799 of Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn’s career spanning 20 years.
“That was good, we needed that,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We needed something to change and it was nice that we were able to keep that inning going.”
Arkansas took its first lead of the series in the eighth when Cisterna hit a line drive over the left field wall scoring Ben Tschepikow who had singled up the middle. The Razorbacks made it a six-run inning on the strength of two walks, two doubles, a triple and an error following the dinger to open up a 9-3 lead.
The Cornhuskers were the first on the board for the second straight game when they led off the bottom of the third with a walk by Bryce Nimmo. A single by Tyler Rank put runners on first and second with no outs leading Nebraska to sacrifice the runners over. The leadoff hitter, DJ Belfonte was up next and in a surprise move laid down a safety squeeze to perfection, scoring Nimmo and moving Rank to third. Jake Mort singled to right to score Nebraska’s second run.
Arkansas would get one back in the top of the fourth when sophomore Tim Smalling took an 0-2 delivery by Nebraska pitcher Erik Bird and sent it over the left field wall for his second home run of the season. The long ball also extended Smalling’s current hitting streak to 12 games dating back to March 2.
After surrendering a third run to the Cornhuskers in the fourth, Chase Leavitt led off the fifth by taking a 1-1 pitch out to left field to make bring Arkansas within one, 3-2.
The Razorbacks tied the game at three in the seventh after Logan Forsythe started a mini two-out rally by walking on a 3-2 pitch, then watched Andy Wilkins foul off a pair of two-strike pitches before hitting one off the wall in left to score Forsythe and tie the game.
For the Razorbacks, sophomore Travis Hill was in unfamiliar territory as he started his first career game. A career reliever until Wednesday, Hill was perfect through two innings before running into trouble in the third. Hill would make it out of the third then opened the fourth frame by hitting the first batter he faced prompting Arkansas to go to the bullpen and bring in Dallas Keuchel. Hill’s first start went three innings, giving up three runs on two hits with one walk. Arkansas’ relief pitching of Dallas Keuchel, Stephen Richards and Brett Eibner combined for six innings of one run, five hit baseball.
The Razorbacks get back into Southeastern Conference action this weekend when they travel to Baton Rouge, La., to take on the LSU Tigers. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit www.hogwired.com.