FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) - The No. 25 Arkansas baseball team (4-0) earned a 6-2 victory over Eastern Illinois (1-4) in the series opener Friday at Baum Stadium. The Razorbacks scored all of their runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings and cruised to the win behind 8.0 shutout innings on the mound.
Junior left-handed pitcher Jalen Beeks (2-0) earned the win for the second straight series-opening game. The team captain from Prairie Grove, Ark., pitched 5.2 shutout innings and recorded five strikeouts while walking two and allowing three hits. Sophomore Landon Simpson took over for Beeks and added 2.1 shutout innings while striking out one and allowing one hit.
True freshman Andrew Benintendi led the Razorbacks at the plate with a two-hit day, including an RBI on his first collegiate hit. The Cincinnati native had two doubles, one RBI and one run scored while increasing his on-base percentage to a team-high .529. Juniors Brian Anderson and Eric Fisher and sophomore Tyler Spoon also added one RBI each, and Fisher scored another run when he stole home on a double steal with Jake Wise going from first base to second base.
Arkansas and Eastern Illinois are set for two more games this weekend with 1:05 p.m. start times Saturday and Sunday.
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Coach Van Horn Quotes
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on LHP-Jalen Beeks starting vs. closing) - "He is a pretty good pitcher. I like him at the beginning and the end. He was the big story today obviously. He gave us five strong innings. I think he ran out of gas there in the sixth, kind of got up to his pitch count and we took him out. We had a six-run lead and could have let him get another hitter, but there was no reason to stretch him out. He was kind of at that magic number (of pitches) around mid-80s. He did a great job, walked a couple, struck out five, and made a nice play on a bunt. He kept his shutout going and just gave us a chance against a crafty pitcher."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on RF-Tyler Spoon throwing out a runner trying to stretch a single into a double in the 4th inning) - "It was a great play. It looked like it was probably going to be a double all the way. He got on it quick and got around the ball so when he fielded it he was already in throwing position. He got rid of it quick and it was one of those plays where if you throw it around the bag you have a good shot of getting them. I thought (SS-Brett) McAfee did a good job fielding the crazy hop."
• Eric Fisher's steal of home was the first by a Razorback since May 4, 2011, when Matt Reynolds stole home vs. Southeast Missouri State.
• True freshman Andrew Benintendi's first collegiate hit was an RBI double to left-center field in the 3rd inning that scored Clark Eagan.
• Friday's game was the second time this season a Razorback recorded two doubles in a game. Andrew Benintendi joined preseason All-American Brian Anderson, who had two doubles Feb. 14 vs. Appalachian State.
• Jalen Beeks extended his scoreless streak to all 11.2 innings he has pitched this season by throwing 5.2 shutout innings after 6.0 shutout innings in last week's season opener.
• Arkansas was hit by three pitches in Friday's game, extending the Razorbacks' SEC-leading total to 15 through the first four games this season. Arkansas was hit by a pitch 36 times in 61 games last season.
• The Razorbacks' starting pitchers have allowed just 10 hits and struck out 19 in 19.2 innings pitched so far this season.
• Arkansas improved to 19-1 all-time against Eastern Illinois. The Razorbacks have won 13 in a row against the Panthers.
How They Scored
• Arkansas 1, Eastern Illinois 0; Bottom 3rd: Andrew Benintendi hit a double to left-center field to score Clark Eagan from second base.
• Arkansas 2, Eastern Illinois 0; Bottom 3rd: Brian Anderson reached on a fielders' choice to score Bobby Wernes from third base.
• Arkansas 3, Eastern Illinois 0; Bottom 4th: Eric Fisher scored from third base on a double steal.
• Arkansas 4, Eastern Illinois 0; Bottom 5th: Tyler Spoon hit a double to left-center field to score Andrew Benintendi from second base.
• Arkansas 5, Eastern Illinois 0; Bottom 5th: Brian Anderson scored from third base on a wild pitch.
• Arkansas 6, Eastern Illinois 0; Bottom 5th: Eric Fisher hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Tyler Spoon from third base.
• Arkansas 6, Eastern Illinois 2; Top 9th: Trey Russell hit a double to left field to score Marshawn Taylor from third base and Jason Scholl from second base.