FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas completed its third series sweep of the season on Sunday afternoon, defeating Wisconsin-Milwaukee 7-3 at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks improve to 10-1 on the win, while Wisconsin-Milwaukee drops to 1-7 with the defeat. Arkansas posted series sweeps of Delaware State, Utah and Wisconsin-Milwaukee on the season-opening, 11-game homestand, while splitting a two-game midweek set with McNeese State.
With the game tied at three in the bottom of the seventh, Arkansas regained the lead with a pair of runs, all coming with two out. Eric Fisher started the rally with a single to center field. Kyle Robinson followed with the game-winning home run, a two-run shot over the left field wall, to put the Razorbacks in front 5-3.
"He (Robinson) was sitting on a curve ball right there," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. "If they would have thrown a fast ball right there, he would not have swung. He wouldn’t have been able to catch up to it. They threw him a breaking ball and he crushed it. That’s smart baseball, that’s good baseball and I’m proud of him. He did a good job."
Arkansas added a pair of insurance runs in the home half of the eighth. Jarrod McKinney led off the inning with a double down the left field line. Matt Vinson walked and Tim Carver was hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. After a strikeout by Bo Bigham, Jacob Morris hit a sharp ground ball to Sam Koenig at third for UWM. Koenig lost his balance as he tried to throw home and the ball short hopped the catcher and McKinney was able to slide in safely for the run. Fisher then drew a bases loaded walk to score Vinson for the seventh Razorback run of the game.
Dominic Ficociello was a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate and drove in three runs to cap a fantastic three-game series against the Panthers. For the series, Ficociello was 6-for-10 at the plate with a double, a triple and 10 RBI.
Kyle Robinson capped off an impressive week at the plate with a 1-for-4 performance in Sunday’s contest, including his third home run of the week, and two RBI. Robinson drove in 13 runs during the five games played over the past week and hit .474 (9-for-19) with nine runs scored.
Geoffrey Davenport was outstanding in relief for Arkansas, picking up the win to improve his record to 2-1 on the season. Davenport threw 2.2 shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.
"He was the major plus on the day as far as out of our bullpen or even just all of our pitchers today," Van Horn said. "He came in and gave us three solid innings and I’m glad to see it."
Chad Pierce took the loss for Wisconsin-Milwaukee to drop to 0-3 on the season. Pierce gave up five runs, four earned, on five hits in 6.2 innings.
Cade Lynch started for the Razorbacks and received a no decision, allowing two runs on six hits with three strikeouts in four innings. Barrett Astin also pitched for Arkansas and gave up a run on two hits with three punch outs in 2.1 innings.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee struck first with a run in the top of the first. With one out, Sam Koenig and Sam Sivilotti hit back-to-back singles. Paul Hoenecke was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Phil Striggow hit a sacrifice fly to right-center field, scoring Koenig from third for the first run of the game. The Panthers would load the bases again after Doug Dekoning was hit by a pitch, but Cade Lynch got Ryan Solberg to strike out swinging to end the threat.
Arkansas responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the first. After Bo Bigham was retired to start the inning, Jacob Morris drew a four-pitch walk and moved to second after Matt Reynolds was hit by a pitch. Morris advanced to third on a fly out to deep center field by Kyle Robinson. Dominic Ficociello cleared the bases with a triple to the right-center field alley to put the Razorbacks in front 2-1.
The Razorbacks added on to their lead with a run in the bottom of the third. Bigham reached on a two-base fielding error to start the inning. Morris drew a walk to put runners at first and second with no outs. A sacrifice bunt by Reynolds moved each runner up a base. Robinson was hit by a pitch to make the bases loaded. Ficociello drove in Bigham with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee cut the lead back to one with a run in the top of the fourth. With one out, Dekoning singled. Lynch had Dekoning picked off at first, but his throw got past the first baseman and went down the right field line, allowing Dekoning to advance all the way to third. A base hit by Solberg plated Dekoning to cut the lead to 3-2.
The Panthers tied the game with a run in the top of the sixth. Striggow and Dekoning started the inning with consecutive singles and moved to second and third, respectively, on a sacrifice bunt by Solberg. After a walk to Mark Strey, Tell Taylor hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Striggow to tie the game.
Dekoning was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate to lead the Panther offense on Sunday. Koenig added two hits in the loss.
Arkansas hits the road for the first time in the 2011 season next weekend, traveling to San Diego for a four-game series with San Diego State. Game times are 8 p.m. (CT) Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday.