Redbirds Lose Heartbreaker to Razorbacks, 9-8
Feb. 25, 2007
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Through seven innings at Baum Stadium on Sunday, there was definitely a feeling of worry in the hearts of the Arkansas fans as their Razorbacks were down 7-1 to the Illinois State baseball team. However, for the second game in a row, Arkansas (9-3) put up a huge inning with seven runs in the bottom of the eighth that eventually propelled the Razorbacks to a 9-8 victory in 10 innings over the Redbirds (2-4) in front of 6,769 spectators.
ISU reliever Jim Sajewich (0-1) suffered the loss in relief as he was responsible for the unearned run that clinched the game for Arkansas. Starter Luke Baughman was solid in his second start of the season, allowing just four hits and three runs in seven strong innings on the mound. Arkansas closer Jess Todd (1-0) earned the win in relief, after blowing the save to allow ISU to tie the game up in the ninth inning.
ISU got on the scoreboard first, scoring two runs on two hits and two errors in the top of the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead. With one out, Jesse Griswold singled up the middle and later advanced on a failed pickoff attempt to give the `Birds a runner in scoring position. Kevin Dubler was next up and reached base on an error by Arkansas second baseman Ben Tschepikow and then advanced to second base on the overthrow, allowing Griswold to score for the first run of the inning. Designated hitter Kevin Konsler then singled into right field to score Dubler from second to give ISU its two-run advantage.
The Redbirds tacked on their third run of the game in the top of the fifth inning to take a 3-0 advantage. Matt Bolt led off the inning and then advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Collin Salzenstein. Ryan Anetsberger then laced a RBI single to right field by that scored Bolt from second base to put ISU up three runs.
One more run came across the plate for ISU in top of the sixth inning to widen the lead to 4-0. Anthony Ruffolo pinch hit for Konsler and drew a leadoff walk to start the inning. Ruffolo then advanced to third base on a well-executed hit and run by Kyle O'Brien and later scored on a Dan Weston blooper to left field to take the four-run advantage for ISU.
For the fourth time in four innings ISU put runs on the scoreboard, this time with three in the top of the seventh inning, to push the lead to seven runs at 7-0. The inning was highlighted by a bases-clearing, two-out double to right-centerfield by Weston to bring three more runs across the plate for the Redbirds.
Arkansas would eventually get on the board in the bottom of the seventh inning on solo home run by Logan Forsythe and cut into the ISU lead 7-1. However, Arkansas would claw back and put up seven runs on four hits and an error in a wild bottom of the eighth inning to take an 8-7 lead, its first of the ballgame. Also in the inning, ISU head coach Jim Brownlee was ejected for arguing an interference call at first base on an attempted pick off by reliever Mike Hlavacek.
But, the Redbirds were not done as a two-out single by Bolt off Todd in the top of the ninth inning scored Dubler from second base to tie the game at 8-8. Sajewich would then get the Razorbacks out 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings for the first time this season for the Redbirds. Arkansas would not waste a lot of time, as a throwing error by Griswold while attempting to turn a double play allowed Brad Secrist to score from second base and give the Razorbacks the go-ahead run and the 9-8 victory. Weston paced the ISU offense with two hits and four RBI, while Anetsberger finished 4-for-6 with a run scored and a RBI.
The Redbirds return to action March 2-4 in a three-game series with the Louisville Cardinals. The first game is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday, March 1 at Patterson Stadium in Louisville, Ky.