FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (arkansasrazorbacks.com) – No. 8 Arkansas (6-2) outlasted Illinois State (4-3), 10-9 in 11 innings, on Wednesday evening at Baum-Walker Stadium in a game that featured back-to-back-to-back home runs by the Hogs for the first time in modern history.
Kendall Diggs was once again the hero, hitting a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the 11th to lift the Razorbacks to a rollercoaster midweek win. The Arkansas designated hitter also swatted a walk-off three-run homer in last weekend’s series opener against Eastern Illinois on Feb. 24, which powered the Hogs to a 13-2 run-rule win in seven innings.
It was madness from the start as Arkansas belted four home runs on Wednesday, beginning with Jared Wegner’s two-run shot in the bottom of the first. His no-doubter to left center was the start of a three-run inning, erasing the Razorbacks’ early one-run deficit.
Illinois State, however, fought back to reopen a 5-3 advantage after five innings of play. The Redbirds tagged Arkansas starter Zack Morris for two runs on five hits and a walk in an inning of work before breaking through for three runs on four hits in four innings against reliever Koty Frank, who racked up three strikeouts in middle relief.
The Razorbacks would tie the game at five apiece in the bottom of the sixth, but they saved their biggest fireworks for the seventh. The Hogs took an 8-5 lead when Peyton Stovall, Diggs and Caleb Cali made program history by clubbing back-to-back-to-back home runs – a feat that has not been accomplished by an Arkansas team since at least 1970, legendary former head coach Norm DeBriyn’s first season at the helm.
Arkansas turned to right-handers Cody Adcock (2.0 IP, 0 R, 2 SO) and Brady Tygart (1.2 IP, 4 R, 2 SO) to close out the ballgame, but no lead was safe on Wednesday. The Redbirds scored two in the eighth and two more in the ninth, drawing even with the Hogs and forcing extra innings.
After Tygart departed due to an apparent arm injury, Dylan Carter emerged from the bullpen and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out one. The Bentonville, Ark., native’s dominance in relief, which earned him his first career win, set the stage for Diggs’ heroics in the 11th.
After Stovall’s leadoff double to right, Diggs drove a double over the center fielder’s head. Stovall jogged home from second, sealing the Razorbacks’ back-and-forth 10-9 win in extras.
Wegner, Stovall and Diggs each finished with a team-leading three hits. Wegner drove in a team-high three RBI, while Diggs and Cali each picked up two RBI in the ballgame.
Arkansas next hosts Wright State for a three-game set this weekend at Baum-Walker Stadium. First pitch is 3 p.m. Friday, March 3, on SEC Network+.