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Andy Hodges

Long and short of this Hogs’ team is, well, they’re really good

There’s about nine inches of difference in the stature of Arkansas’ two best players and they may have given a glimpse of the future Friday.

There’s about nine inches of difference in the stature of what is likely Arkansas’ two best players and they may have given a glimpse of the future Friday.

The result was a 7-6 win on a cold, rainy day at Baum-Walker Stadium.

After the Razorbacks stumbled around offensively for most of the first game in a weekend series with Murray State, Robert Moore (all 5-foot-9 of him) went yard for the second time in the game for a slim one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth.

Jaxon Wiggins (at 6-foot-6) then went to the mound and only needed 10 pitches to seal his second win of the season.

We saw enough glimpses of Wiggins in the opening series of the year in Arlington, Texas, to  know there was something special in the tall right-hander that throws pitches that creep close to 100 miles an hour.

“I don’t think we hit him all spring,” Moore said later. “He’s hard to hit. He gets better every single day”

That last part is probably scary to everybody on the Hogs’ schedule.

For the Racers, who had given most of the Hogs’ pitching staff problems. Dave Van Horn used seven pitchers in the game.

Peyton Pallette started and went four innings, Patrick Wicklander threw a couple of innings in the middle and everybody else just pitched to a few guys as Van Horn went to a situational rotation.

He held Wiggins for exactly what happened the eighth.

When Moore yanked the third pitch he faced high and over the wall near the scoreboard with nobody out and Zack Gregory on base, Van Horn got his perfect situation. That flipped a one-run game in the Hogs’ favor with one swing.

Wiggins got a quick fly-out, then two strikeouts and it was on to Saturday.

Moore, who plays more like a sixth-year senior than a just a few games in 2020 before the covid shutdown, is providing a big bat and consistent play at second base. He was 3-of-4 at the plate Friday with four RBI on three hits.

And, in the end, it was just another comeback win that this team is turning into something so routine folks kind of expect it.

“The truth of the matter is all of this is only possible if our pitching keeps us in games,” Moore said later. “Our pitching keeps us in games and we’re just very calm.”

It’s gotten these Hogs to 8-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country in several of the polls, which means absolutely nothing in a sport where you have to play your way to a title.

And while they aren’t the only players on the roster, we may have gotten a peek into two that are going to play key roles.

Moore is the shortest player on the roster and maybe the best overall hitter, especially in the clutch.

Wiggins may be the closer the Hogs haven’t had very often.

And that could be the long and short of the future of this season which could be really good.

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