As he prepared for the final outing of his team’s 18-game home stand, Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said he had two main goals in mind for Tuesday games.

Basically rest some starters and get his bench guys some at bats.

That’s even if he knew full well his No. 6 team’s battle with Southeast Missouri might well be a trap game ahead of this weekend’s series at No. 1 LSU.

The Razorbacks responded by winning their 14th consecutive game with a 10-run barrage in their last at bat to take a 12-2 run-rule win. 

“That’s one reason I decided to sit down six starters from Sunday’s game,” Van Horn said of the trap game angle.  “I don’t know if I’ve ever done that. 

There are two reasons: I wanted to play those guys. They work hard. They support their teammates and I wanted to get them in there. Obviously I don’t want to get anybody hurt and give guys a chance to rest a little bit.”

Arkansas went 17-1 on its home stand after opening the season 2-1 in the College Baseball Showdown in Arlington, Texas.

“We’ve played 10 games in 12 or 13 days and it’s gone our way,” Van Horn said. “It’s been a great homestand for us. We’ve learned a lot about our team. I think the guys are enjoying hanging out with each other and playing hard. 

“They’re pulling for each other and I just felt like it was a chance to get some other guys in there. 

“Yeah, I don’t want to lose the game, but at the same time, I have to get some of these guys some experience. I’m just glad it worked out for us.”

Jared Wegner was one of few regulars in the line up and got this team going with a double in the top of the first.

Wegner, who would later add a two-run single to push his team RBI lead to 35, scored on Harold Coll’s fielders choice.

“I still needed to have one power-type bat two, three or four in the lineup to drive in some runs and that experience,” Van Horn said of Wegner said. “He did it again, drove in a couple of runs. 

“That double he hit in the first inning was about as hard as you can hit a ball without it leaving the park. If he had hit it two millimeters lower, that ball would have lined out of the park. That ball was smoked. So, it was good. It was good for him. He had a good day.”

Wegner wanted to be int he line up.

“Well, I thought he (Wegner) handled it good because that’s what he does,” Van Horn said. “He hits, and he plays. He’s strong. He’s older. He wants to play. 

“I kind of joked with him before the game, I said ‘You came all the way down here from Nebraska. I bet you want to play everyday, don’t you?’ He goes ‘Yes sir.’ And I said ‘Well, just plan on it then.’ 

SEMO tied it in the top of the fourth when Josh Cameron homered off Arkansas starting and winning pitcher Ben Bybee (2-0).

Bybee ended up pitching four inning, allowing the one run on one hit, fanning five and walking three.

Zack Morris continued his reemergence, pitching three innings while allowing one run on three hits, fanning five and walking one.

“I thought that Bybee threw the ball pretty well,” Van Horn said. “Didn’t have the velocity he had last week, but had a good breaking ball. Didn’t command it really after the first, second inning. Three walks. Take away the walks, he had a good outing. nd drifted into the barrel and the guy hammered it…That was the only hit, one earned run for him, but Morris came in and did a pretty good job.

 That lead didn’t last long as Arkansas freshman Reese “Big Country” Robinett laced a solo shot off SEMO reliever Esteban Hernandez (0-1).

The bottom then fell out for the visitors in the sixth as they used four pitchers in an inning where the Razorbacks scored 10.

Jayson Jones and Hunter Grimes had RBI singles in the explosive half-inning, Wegner a two-run one and Harold Coll’s second double of the inning plated two runs as well.

Runs also scored via two errors, a wild pitch and bases loaded walk.

Arkansas will open its three-game set in Baton Rouge Friday night at 7 p.m. with game also Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon.

Photo by John D. James