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Franklin's 5 RBIs help Hogs beat LSU in series opener

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Christian Franklin had five RBIs in Arkansas' 7-0 win over LSU on Friday.
Christian Franklin had five RBIs in Arkansas' 7-0 win over LSU on Friday. (SEC Media Portal)

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It may have just been batting practice, but Christian Franklin put on a show before Friday’s series opener at LSU.

To go along with the usual BP moonshots, the preseason All-American hit line drive after line drive to all fields and then carried it into the game. He collected a pair of hits that drove in five of Arkansas’ runs in a 7-0 win over the Tigers at Alex Box Stadium.

The first of those hits came in the seventh inning and broke a scoreless tie.

With one out and runners on second and third, LSU starter Landon Marceaux hung a curveball in a 1-2 count and Franklin made him pay. He ripped a line drive into left-center to make it 2-0.

“One of the few mistakes that (Marceaux) made all night, at least with his breaking ball,” head coach Dave Van Horn said. “Just a great job of Franklin doing what you’re supposed to do with an off speed pitch, especially when you’re down in the count - just hit it right back where it came from.”

Facing reliever Michael Fowler, Franklin provided some insurance runs for the Razorbacks by hitting a three-run home that gave them a 7-0 lead in the eighth.

He was hunting for a fastball in a 3-1 count and got one up in the zone. Although it barely cleared the wall in right field, Franklin crushed it for his 10th long ball of the season.

“On a normal day, that ball goes way out of here, but the wind got ahold of it a little bit and kept it from going probably another 30, 40 feet,” Van Horn said. “But he just did a good job getting a fastball 3-1 and hammering it.”

It was an encouraging sight for Arkansas, as Franklin has been in the midst of a slump dating back to the start of the Texas A&M series. Including a couple of strikeouts earlier in the game, he was just 2 for his last 23 with 10 strikeouts before the back-to-back hits.

Sandwiched between those big at bats, Franklin also turned in arguably the biggest defensive play of the game.

When Cade Doughty hit a single into center, Gavin Dugas - who reached on a one-out single - attempted to go first to third on the plate. However, Franklin came up firing and gunned him down at third for the second out of the inning.

“We’re sitting on a two-run lead, we’re thinking he should probably just throw the ball to second base, but he charged it hard, made a perfect throw,” Van Horn said. “Obviously it changed the whole inning.”

The Razorbacks turned to their bullpen at that point and Kevin Kopps slammed the door with five strikeouts in 2 1/3 perfect innings to earn his sixth save of the season.

Classic PItcher’s Duel

Up until that fateful seventh inning, Marceaux was locked in a classic SEC pitcher’s duel with Arkansas starter Patrick Wicklander.

The first six innings flew by with only two Razorbacks reaching base, both on errors by the third baseman, and just one LSU player reaching base - coming on an infield single by Dugas.


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