Photo Courtesy: UA Athletics (Walt Beazley)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The No. 14 Arkansas baseball team concluded non-conference play on Tuesday night at Baum Stadium with a 6-3 win over Missouri State.
The win was the 30th of the season for the Razorbacks, as they extend their winning streak to five games. Arkansas improves to 30-15 with Missouri State dropping to 27-13 (11-5 MVC).
Dominic Ficociello led the Razorbacks at the plate with his third three-hit game of the season. Jordan Farris also added two hits with a double and a single, and Jacob Mahan had a game-high two RBI. Arkansas got balanced contributions from throughout their lineup, as every starter reached base for the Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks showcased the depth of their pitching staff on Tuesday night as eight different pitchers toed the rubber in the game. Randall Fant started on the mound and got the win to improve to 4-1. Fant allowed a run on two hits in two innings of work. Fant, Trey Killian, Michael Gunn, Chris Oliver, Brandon Moore, Trent Daniel, Jalen Beeks, and Colby Suggs all combined to hold the Bears to just three runs on five hits. Killian, Gunn, Moore, Daniel, and Suggs all held Missouri State off the board in their relief appearances, with Killian, Gunn and Daniel each recording two strikeouts. Suggs recorded the final out of the contest to earn his eighth save of the season.
Missouri State starter Matt Hall (4-2) took the loss after giving up four runs on four hits in four innings.
Spencer Johnson had two hits, including a homer, to lead the Bears at the plate. Eric Cheray, Tate Matheny and Travis McComack each had one hit.
The Bears scored first in the game, tallying a run in the top of the first inning. Matheny led off the game with a double to left field. Cheray followed by laying down a sacrifice bunt, and a throwing error by Arkansas third baseman Brian Anderson gave Missouri State an early 1-0 advantage.
In the second inning, a rally gave the Razorbacks a lead they would never relinquish. Anderson led off the inning with a walk, and Ficociello followed with a single. Farris laid down a perfect bunt for a hit that loaded the bases with no outs. Jake Wise and Jacob Mahan each followed with RBI walks, giving the Razorbacks the lead at 2-1. Joe Serrano followed with a sacrifice fly to center, giving the Razorbacks a three run second inning and putting them ahead for good.
In the fourth, Arkansas got the leadoff man on for the third consecutive inning, and again made it work to their advantage. Farris led off the inning by lining a double down the third base line, and a two-out single by shortstop Brett McAfee scored the Razorbacks' fourth run of the day.
In the sixth, Missouri State got a run back without the benefit of a hit. Cheray reached on a walk, and a wild pitch advanced him to second. The runner then moved to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Luke Voit, cutting the Arkansas lead to 4-2.
Arkansas got that run back in the bottom half of the inning. Ficociello led off with a single, and was moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Ficociello then stole third for his second stolen base of the year, and scored on an RBI groundout by Farris.
In the seventh inning, Arkansas again added to the lead. Serrano lead off the inning by drawing a walk. Arkansas put on a hit and run, and Vinson knocked a single into right field to put runners on the corners. After a wild pitch moved Vinson to second, Tyler Spoon followed with a sacrifice fly, recording his team leading 39th RBI and extending the Arkansas lead to four.
In the ninth, Missouri State was down to their final out, but Johnson hit a home run over the left field wall, scoring the third Bears' run of the night. Missouri State tried to build a late rally to try and get the tying run to the plate, but Arkansas brought in their closer and Suggs slammed the door with a strikeout for his eighth save of the year. Suggs recorded his fourth consecutive save in his past four appearances, closing out the Razorback victory.
The Razorbacks are back on the road this weekend, traveling to Lexington, Ky. for a SEC series at Kentucky. Game one will be Friday at 5:30 p.m. CST, followed by games Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and Sunday at 12:00 p.m.