Top-ranked Hogs hold off comeback effort by ORU

The No. 1-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks held off a late-game comeback effort by the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles Tuesday night, 4-2, in their final tune-up before entering SEC play on Friday against the Missouri Tigers.

The Hogs (14-2) are on a 10-game winning streak thanks to the victory that got a bit too close for comfort in the eighth inning.

The Golden Eagles (7-10) had Arkansas skipper Dave Van Horn concerned that his squad might be looking ahead to the Missouri series, but even though the game got a bit tight, the Hogs’ pitching rose to the occasion to lock the game away.

Gabe Gaeckle, a freshman right-hander, earned his fourth save of the year by getting Arkansas out of a jam that saw ORU runners at first and third base in the top of the eighth when ORU’s David Herring popped out. Gaeckle faced the minimum in his 1.1 innings of relief, striking out two of the four batters he faced.

The game turned on misfired pitches with ORU walking seven Hog batters and hitting one, while the Razorbacks tallied only two walks.

Freshman lefty Colin Fisher (4-1) once again got the Hogs off to a strong start, pitching the first three scoreless innings with four strikeouts as his ERA dwindled to 1.26 on the season.

Peyton Stovall, who returned to play as a designated hitter last weekend after a foot injury, started at second base. His two-run single in the second inning led to a three-run inning when shortstop Wehiwa Aloy swatted an RBI single of his own to lift the Razorbacks to a 3-0 lead.

Kendall Diggs extended the Hogs’ lead to 4-0 in the fifth, smacking a home run over the right-center fence for his third of the season, but ORU scored a run in the seventh and eighth inning to make the game interesting late.

Missouri (9-8) visits Baum-Walker Stadium on Friday for a 6:30 p.m. contest that likely will feature Hog left-handed ace Hagen Smith on the mound. Right-hander Brady Tygart will likely start for the Hogs at 2 p.m. Saturday, while lefty Mason Molina will likely get the start on Sunday.

Next week the Razorbacks are off until they travel to face Auburn in a three-game series that starts on Thursday, March 21.