Hogs power up on Ag­gies for vic­tory

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Nate Allen Ra­zor­back Re­port

COL­LEGE STA­TION, Texas — Fourth-ranked Ar­kan­sas used the home run ball five times Thurs­day night to pull out a 7-3 vic­tory over 17thranked Texas A&M at

Blue Bell Park. Ar­kan­sas has won five straight con­fer­ence se­ries open­ers and 20 SEC games for the first time in the Dave Van Horn era.

Ar­kan­sas re­mains one game ahead of Mis­sis­sippi State in the SEC Western Di­vi­sion with two games to play. The Bull­dogs de­feated South Carolina 24-7 for their 44th vic­tory and 19th in con­fer­ence play.

The Hogs were able to get ahead of Ag­gie starter Chris We­ber for five runs in five innings and it all be­gan with a 3-run homer by red­shirt se­nior Trevor Ezell in the third in­ning. What fol­lowed was four more home runs off the bats of Casey Martin in the fifth and ninth, Matt Good­heart also in the fifth and Jack Ken­ley in the sixth, mark­ing the sixth time this year and sec­ond in the last four games that the Hogs have hit four or more home runs in a game and third with five or more.

“We’ve got some guys with some power, but we’re not try­ing to make it a habit,” Ar­kan­sas Coach Dave Van Horn said. “You’ve got to give Texas A&M a lit­tle bit of credit, they struck us out 18

times, we just took some good swings and a few of those home runs were with two strikes. We just took ad­van­tage of a cou­ple of balls that were left up in the zone.”

The win by the Ra­zor­backs was their 40th of the year and 20th in league play. It’s the third straight year and fifth time in the last six years the Hogs have to­taled 40 or more wins. This year’s team is the fastest Ra­zor­back team to reach 40 wins since 1989.

It’s also the first time Ar­kan­sas has won 20 or more games in SEC play since 1999 and first un­der head coach Dave Van Horn. Ar­kan­sas won a school record 22 games in con­fer­ence play in 1999 un­der long-time head coach Norm De­briyn.

Once again, righthande­r Isa­iah Campbell gave Ar­kan­sas a qual­ity out­ing, go­ing six innings strong with only two runs al­lowed, one be­ing earned, and six strike­outs. Campbell has 10 qual­ity starts in his last 11 out­ings and picked up his 10th win of the year, making him the sec­ond pitcher since Bryant’s Blaine Knight in the last six years to win 10

or more games in a sin­gle sea­son.

For the sec­ond time in four games, Ar­kan­sas hit five home runs in Thurs­day’s con­test, upping their sea­son to­tal to 75, which now leads the SEC. Casey Martin went deep twice in the game, his first multi-home run game this sea­son, while Trevor Ezell, Matt Good­heart and Jack Ken­ley also launched homers. Martin is now tied for the team lead with He­ston Kjer­stad with 14 home runs this sea­son. Ezell’s 3-run bomb was his eighth of the year and sec­ond in four games. Good­heart’s was his sec­ond this year and Ken­ley’s was his 11th. Martin and Good­heart’s home runs in the fifth in­ning were of the back-to-back va­ri­ety. It’s the sec­ond time this year the Hogs have gone backto-back, the last com­ing against North­west­ern State on April 23.

“You’ll no­tice Casey isn’t hook­ing the ball as much, he’s just stay­ing through the mid­dle,” Van Horn said of Martin’s play the past month. “There’s a lot of times that we wouldn’t let him pull the ball dur­ing bat­ting prac­tice. We just told him to stay through the mid­dle and he started hav­ing suc­cess in the games. He’s bought in and he just has so much

bat speed that he can wait longer than a lot of peo­ple. He’s just got to learn that. He’s still grow­ing up and still de­vel­op­ing. He’s paid at­ten­tion and has seen what’s worked for him and taken it to the game.”

Eight of Ar­kan­sas’ 10 hits Thurs­day night went for ex­tra bases, three from dou­bles cou­pled with the five home runs. It’s the most ex­tra-base hits in a game for the

Hogs since April 27 when they notched 10 against Ten­nessee. Ar­kan­sas has 20 ex­tra-base hits in the last four games and is av­er­ag­ing 8.5 runs per game over that same stretch.

Af­ter Isa­iah Campbell held Texas A&M down for six innings, he handed over the ball to Kevin Kopps, who pitched a beau­ti­ful sev­enth in­ning be­fore run­ning into trou­ble in the eighth. Jacob Kostyshock, making his third ap­pear­ance in three games, came on to relieve Kopps in the mid­dle of the eighth af­ter A&M scored to make it 6-3. Kostyshock was able to strand two run­ners and pick up a big strike­out of the po­ten­tial game-ty­ing run at the plate. Ju­nior Matt Cronin fin­ished off the ninth in­ning, but it wasn’t a save sit­u­a­tion as he faced five bat­ters and gave up one hit and one walk.

Up Next

Ar­kan­sas and Texas A&M will be back on the field to­mor­row with first pitch from Blue Bell Park at 6:30 p.m. The game will be tele­vised on­line only via SEC Net­work+.

CRAVEN WHITLOW/NATE Allen Sports Ser­vice

For­mer Bryant Hor­net and cur­rent Ar­kan­sas Ra­zor­backs grad­u­ate stu­dent Trevor Ezell takes a cut in a game ear­lier this sea­son. Ezell hit a 3-run homer run in a 7-3 win over the Texas A&M Ag­gies

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