FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 25 Arkansas baseball team (5-0) broke a 3-3 tie with a five-run, two-out rally in the bottom of the eighth inning and defeated Eastern Illinois (1-5) 8-3 Saturday in front of a season-high crowd of 5,286 at Baum Stadium.
Junior left-handed pitcher Michael Gunn
(1-0) earned the win after recording the final four outs on just nine pitches. Fellow junior Chris Oliver
started the game and threw 6.0 shutout innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out four, and was replaced after six innings with Arkansas holding a 2-0 lead. Sophomore Colin Poché
took the ball and added three strikeouts in 1.1 innings of work with no hits allowed.
Sophomore Michael Bernal
led the way offensively for the Razorbacks. The El Paso, Texas, native was 3-for-3, including a two-out triple to right field that scored Jake Wise
for the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth. Bernal’s hit extended the inning that was punctuated with a three-run home run to left field by preseason All-American Brian Anderson
to cap the five-run eighth. Anderson and junior Joe Serrano
each recorded two hits and scored one run during the game, and Serrano added two RBI, giving the Razorbacks five RBI from their No. 2 and 3 hitters in the batting order.
Arkansas and Eastern Illinois wrap up their three-game series Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch. For tickets, click here
For more information on Arkansas baseball, follow @RazorbackBSB
Coach Van Horn Quotes
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on wind helping the triple in the 8th inning)
– “That wind killed many of our swings. Ask (1B-Eric) Fisher, he probably would have four home runs (this season) if it wasn’t for that wind. It was good to see the wind help us. There was some back spin on the hit and once it stopped (the right fielder) thought he had it under control and we were screaming that he was going to struggle and sure enough it got blown back. Obviously that was big for us. We started that inning with two outs and (C) Jake (Wise) got a base hit in the hole, we got the triple, and it just kind of snowballed on them.”
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on LHP-Michael Gunn’s performance at the end of the game)
– “We have confidence in Gunn. He is an experienced guy. We have put him out there a couple of times now and he has gotten the job done. It was a touchy situation and he came in and got the out (to end the eighth inning), then shut them down pretty quick in the ninth inning.”
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on 3B-Michael Bernal)
– “He did a great job. He had two line drives up the middle, got hit by a pitch, and the ball he hit the worst was a triple. He made a couple of nice plays in the field too. He had a great game.”
• Michael Bernal
is the first Razorback to score three runs in a game since Sam Bates at Tennessee on May 19, 2012.
• Michael Bernal
became the second Razorback with a three-hit game this season, joining preseason All-American Brian Anderson
, who had three hits in the season opener Feb. 14 vs. Appalachian State.
• Brian Anderson
’s three-run home run in the eighth inning was the Razorbacks’ fourth this season and Anderson’s first since May 11, 2013, vs. Tennessee.
• Chris Oliver
registered a career-long outing for the second time this season with his 6.0 innings of work on the mound. Oliver’s previous career high for innings pitched was 5.0 recorded last weekend in a 7-6 win vs. Appalachian State.
• Michael Gunn
earned the third win of his career and first since March 9, 2013, vs. San Diego State.
Arkansas’ starting pitchers have allowed three earned runs in 25.2 innings pitched so far this season, an earned-run average of 1.05. Chris Oliver
threw 6.0 shutout innings Saturday to lower his season ERA to 0.82.
• The Razorbacks’ five runs in the eighth inning are the most they have scored in one inning this season. The last time Arkansas scored at least five runs in one inning was June 2, 2013, in the seventh inning of a 12-3 win vs. Bryant in the NCAA Manhattan Regional. The last time Arkansas scored five runs in the eighth inning or later was March 25, 2012 in the 11th inning of an 8-5 win at Mississippi State.
• Arkansas was hit by three pitches in Saturday’s game, extending the Razorbacks’ SEC-leading total to 18 through the first five games this season with six coming in the first two games of this series. Arkansas was hit by a pitch 36 times in 61 games last season.
• Arkansas improved to 20-1 all-time against Eastern Illinois. The Razorbacks have won 14 in a row against the Panthers.
How They Scored
• Arkansas 3, Eastern Illinois 1; Top 8th: Caleb Howell doubled to left field to score Mitch Gasbarro from second base.
• Arkansas 3, Eastern Illinois 3; Top 8th: Frankie Perrone singled to right field to score Montana Tibbons from third base and Caleb Howell from second base.
Arkansas 4, Eastern Illinois 3; Bottom 8th: Michael Bernal
tripled to right field to score Jake Wise
from first base.
Arkansas 5, Eastern Illinois 3; Bottom 8th: Michael Bernal
scored from third base on a wild pitch.