COLLEGE STATION, Texas Arkansas used the long ball to its advantage by generating seven runs off four home runs in its 8-6 win over Ohio State Sunday at the Dominos Pizza Baseball Classic. The win improved the Razorbacks’ record to 6-1 and Ohio State drops to 4-2.
Aaron Murphree hit two, two-run home runs to spark the Razorbacks, who came back from a 5-2 deficit. Cliff Springston (2-0) picked up the win with 6.1 innings of relief work. J.B. Shuck dropped to 1-1 with the loss. Ohio State’s Ryan Meade had three hits and three runs scored and Zach Hurley and Cory Kovanda had two RBI to pace Ohio State.
The Buckeyes fell behind, 2-0, in the first as Chase Leavitt greeted Shuck with a leadoff home run and Jacob House had an RBI single, one of four hits in the inning for the Razorbacks.
Ohio State, as it has done 60 percent of the time this season entering the game, responded to the Razorback runs by scoring three in the very next inning. Meade led off the inning with a single, advanced to third on Ben Toussant’s single and scored on Dan Burkhart’s grounder. Burkhart reached second on a throwing error with Toussant moving to third and both scored on Cory Rupert’s line drive single to center to make the score 3-2.
The Buckeyes chased Arkansas starter Shaun Siebert in the third. Justin Miller was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Meade’s double down the left field line. In came Springston to pitch and Zach Hurley promptly ripped a run scoring single off the junior southpaw. Hurley was caught stealing and then Burkhart grounded out to end the inning with Ohio State up, 5-2.
The Razorbacks closed to within 5-4 on a one-out, two-run home run by Ryan Cisterna in the fourth inning off Shuck, who escaped further damage in the inning despite walking two more batters. He got Andrew Wilkins to ground out to short to end the inning.
Murphree then put the Razorbacks ahead, 6-5, with a two-out, two-run home run in the fifth inning. Shuck made it through the inning behind a sweet, running snap for an out by Kennedy of a potential double down into left field.
Ohio State’s Miller helped Alex Wimmers, who replaced Shuck in the sixth inning, through the inning with a diving stab to throw out Tim Smalling with a runner on board. Wimmers struck out Andrew Wilkins looking to end the inning and keep Ohio State within one run.
Springston, meanwhile, retired 12 consecutive Ohio State batters between the fourth and seventh innings to keep the Razorbacks first in contention and then into the lead.
Springston got two more insurance runs to work with in the seventh as Murphree hit his second two-run home run of the game and third of the tournament to extend the Razorbacks’ lead to three, 8-5.
Meade stroked a two-out double in the seventh and scored on Hurley’s triple to make the score 8-6. In the ninth, Ohio State threatened with two hits but could not plate any runs.
Get-Away Day Notes from the Dominos Pizza Baseball Classic