FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas’ Bo Bigham drove home the game-winning run with a single in the bottom of the eighth inning and DJ Baxendale threw 3.1 shutout innings in relief to lead the Razorbacks to a 3-2 win over Utah on an overcast and chilly Friday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
With the win, Arkansas runs its winning streak to four games to open the season, while Utah drops to 0-3 with the loss.
After the Utes took their first lead of the game with two runs in the top of the sixth, Arkansas quickly evened the game at two with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Kyle Robinson opened the inning with a triple off the right-center field fence and came across the plate on a RBI groundout by Bigham.
The Razorbacks grabbed the lead for good in the home half of the eighth. Matt Reynolds drew a leadoff walk to open the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Robinson. Bigham lined a single to right-center field, scoring Reynolds from second for the go-ahead run.
Utah put a runner on first with two outs in the top of the ninth, but Austin Shackelford grounded out to second to end the threat and give Arkansas a 3-2 win.
Bigham drove in two runs in the win for the Razorbacks and also added a hit, extending his hitting streak to 10 games, dating back to the 2010 season. Robinson recorded his fourth-consecutive, multi-hit game to start the season, finishing the contest 2-for-3 with a run scored. James McCann and Matt Vinson each registered a hit in the game as well.
Utah’s C.J. Cron and Shaun Cooper each had a hit and a RBI to lead the offensive attack for the Utes.
Baxendale earned his second win on the mound this season for the Razorbacks. The sophomore righty threw 3.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen, allowing three hits and striking out five. Ben Mordini took the loss for Utah, giving up a run on two hits with three strikeouts for the Utes.
Freshman Ryne Stanek turned in a solid outing in his first collegiate start. Stanek retired the first 12 batters he faced, before allowing a leadoff walk in the top of the fifth. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth before the Utes struck with a two-out single. Stanek finished the game giving up two runs on three hits in 5.2 innings.
Rick Anton started for Utah and pitched well, surrendering two runs, one earned, on four hits in 6.0 innings with six strikeouts.
Arkansas scored first for the fourth-consecutive game, striking for a run in the bottom of the third. Collin Kuhn was hit by a pitch with one out and then stole second with two outs. Matt Reynolds reached first on a throwing error by the shortstop, which also allowed Kuhn to score all the way from second and put the Razorbacks in front 1-0.
Utah grabbed its first lead of the game with two runs in the top of the sixth. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, the Utes recorded their first hit of the game on a single by James Brooks into left field. Michael Beltran singled up the middle to put runners on first and second. Cron tied the game with a RBI single to left field, scoring Brooks. The Utes grabbed a 2-1 lead on a base hit by Cooper to center field, plating Beltran.
Arkansas and Utah continue the three-game series tomorrow with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. Junior left-handed pitcher Geoffrey Davenport (1-0, 3.60 ERA) will take the mound for the Razorbacks, while the Utes will counter with sophomore righty Zach Adams (0-0, 3.60). Single-game tickets for tomorrow’s game are $10 for reserved seats and $8 for general admission seats. Tickets can be purchased at Baum Stadium.