JONESBORO, Ark. — Little Rock clinched another series victory Friday night at Tomlinson Stadium-Kell Field with a 5-0 win over Arkansas State, using another great pitching performance from Hayden Arnold and three-hit nights from Nick Perez, Ryan Benavidez and Troy Alexander.
"I'm proud of Hayden because he was challenged after his last couple of starts," said Head Coach Chris Curry. "He had three pitches working for strikes, he had a fastball that was 88-90 with a high spin rate. He did a really fine job of keeping them off-balance. I like that we came out with Riley and Benavidez early to get on the board."
Little Rock improves to 27-26 overall (17-11 Sun Belt) while Arkansas State falls to 26-28 (11-18 Sun Belt).
The Trojans out-hit the Red Wolves 17 to 3 on the night, as five Little Rock hitters recorded multi-hit performances at the plate. Benavidez, Alexander and Perez registered three hits while Riley Pittman and Christian Reyes each racked up two hits. Eight of the nine Trojan starters picked up a hit in the contest.
Hayden Arnold was magnificent on the mound in his ninth start of the year, facing just three batters over the minimum in his seven innings of work. Arnold retired 21 of the 24 hitters he faced without surrendering a walk. The sophomore held the Red Wolves to just three hits, keeping his opponents off-balance all night long. Arnold improved to 5-2 on the season.
After a scoreless first frame, Little Rock was the first team to get on the board as back-to-back singles from Nick Perez and Ramon Padilla set the table. Eldrige Figueroa then blooped one over the second baseman's head to plate Perez. The Trojans then used some trickery on the base paths to force an Arkansas State throwing error in a first-and-third situation to score their second run and take a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
Little Rock extended their lead to 3-0 in the top of the third inning when Nick Perez slapped a base hit through the right side to score James Gann from second base.
In the fifth inning, Little Rock started to rattle off the hits as Benavidez led off with a single to pick up his second hit of the night. Gann punched one through the right side to set the table for Troy Alexander, who doubled to plate Benavidez. Perez then stepped up to the plate to score Gann with his third hit of the contest. The three-run inning gave the Trojans a 5-0 lead in the fifth.
Little Rock continued to pour it on in the eighth inning in their offensive explosion. Benavidez and Pittman laced back-to-back singles and Garrett Scott drew a walk. Alexander's hard-hit ground ball to first base would force an Arkansas State error and bring two more runs across. Another defensive mishap plated Scott to cap the three-run inning, making the score 8-0 in favor of the Trojans.
Dillon Delgadillo was called upon as the next hurler, tossing a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth. Ethan Daily pitched a perfect final frame to end the contest and clinch the 8-0 victory for Little Rock.
The regular season finale takes place tomorrow at Tomlinson Stadium-Kell Field, first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.