FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The best teams in college sports dominate the worst ones. That’s one of the hallmarks of being elite. Strike up Arkansas as “elite.”
The Razorbacks swept Georgia in a three-game set at Baum Stadium this weekend, capped by an 11-3 win on Saturday.
The sweep is the Diamond Hogs’ second of the season in SEC play and the first since the opening weekend against Mississippi State. Arkansas sat, as of the final out, one game up in the league. The Bulldogs and Kentucky can keep pace with Arkansas with sweeps in their series, as well. Auburn is in fourth place.
A seven-run second inning was all that was required Saturday.
Arkansas (29-8, 11-4) batted around in the inning, getting all of the runs on three run-scoring hits. Carson Shaddy’s two-run single to left field canceled out Georgia’s run in the first inning. Three batters later, Jax Biggers hit a bloop to left that scored two. And two batters after that, Chad Spanberger hit his eighth home run of the season, a three-run shot that scored Biggers and Evan Lee.
Dave Van Horn’s bunch tacked on two-run innings in the fourth and fifth to make things easy.
Georgia (15-22, 4-11) did make it interesting a bit in the top of the fourth. Five straight Bulldogs reached (although one was retired during play), forcing Van Horn to pull starter Josh Alberius and his relief, Kacey Murphy. Kevin Kopps entered and on the first pitch he threw to Cam Shepherd, he induced a double play to end the threat and limit the damage to one run.
Arkansas has two midweek games this week, both against Memphis. Next weekend is more important as the Razorbacks head to Auburn, which is just a game back in the SEC standings.
Grading the Hogs
Felt a bit like Arkansas let off the gas in the later innings. But by that point the Hogs already had 14 hits and were well ahead. It was the team’s best-hitting weekend of the season.
Lost in the lopsided score was that Arkansas pitchers allowed 11 hits and walked another 4 batters. Sunday pitching — the series finale this weekend was on Saturday because of Easter — remains the team’s biggest bugaboo.
The Big Stick + Arm
Arm: Kevin Kopps
Kopps went deep in the best game of his short Arkansas career. The redshirt freshman worked the final 5 2/3 innings, allowing 4 hits and walking 2 while striking out 3. He didn’t allow a run.
Stick: Jax Biggers
Biggers went 2 for 5 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs. He’s the team’s leading hitter — from the No. 9 hole — at .333.
What’s next for Arkansas baseball?
The Diamond Hogs have a pair of midweek games upcoming. Arkansas hosts Memphis on Tuesday at Baum Stadium, then the teams head to North Little Rock for a game on Wednesday at Dickey Stephens Park.
The bigger test comes next weekend, when Arkansas heads to Auburn for three games. The Razorbacks are a game ahead of Auburn in the SEC West.