FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas baseball team used a walk-off single by Chad Spanberger in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday evening to rally past Southeast Missouri State 4-3 in the series opener at Baum Stadium.
Trailing 3-1 at the seventh-inning stretch, Arkansas rallied with a two-run double from Andrew Benintendi in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game, before Spanberger came through with a walk-off single to send Joe Serrano racing home and give Arkansas a 4-3 victory.
Jacob Stone (1-2) picked up the win after entering the game in the ninth inning with runners on first and second and no outs and escaping the jam. After a bunt moved the runners over to second and third, Alex Gosser picked the runner off at third for the second out and Stone finished the job with a strikeout to end the SEMO rally and setup the game-winning hit.
Arkansas and SEMO traded runs in the first inning before Keaton McKinney settled in on the mound and set down 12 straight batters and 15 of 18 overall to match his career-long outing of 5.0 innings. Lance Phillips and Josh Alberius saw action in middle relief before Stone slammed the door in the ninth.
Benintendi and Spanberger finished with two hits and two RBI apiece, while four other players collected single hits in the victory.
The Razorbacks and Redhawks will cap the two-game midweek series Wednesday afternoon with first pitch slated for 3:05 p.m. at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn opening statement: “I just like the way we battled. We’ve been behind a lot and we found a way to score a couple runs. We did a great job of getting out of that top of the ninth. We looked to some veterans for leadership. Serrano got a big hit there with one out in the ninth and they didn’t want any part of Benintendi. We got the freshman who delivered a big base hit for us and we got the win. It’s good to win. Hopefully this will get us going a little bit.”
Van Horn on Jacob Stone: “I feel like he’s on his way back. He had good velocity. I don’t know what it was but you could see the ball come out of his hand a lot better than it has been. I know it was just for a few pitches but that’s all we needed.”
Van Horn on Spanberger’s walk-off hit: “It was a big confidence booster for him. He hit two balls extremely well and if there’s no wind both of those balls might have left the yard. If he pulls them a little bit, they’re both out. He just missed a couple home runs and for him to get a three or four hopper through the four hole – it’s big for him, but it’s bigger for the team. That’s the main thing, he helped his team win.”
- Arkansas moves to 6-4 all-time against Southeast Missouri State.
- The Razorbacks are 9-3 at Baum Stadium this season.
- Keaton McKinney matched his career-long outing of 5.0 innings, retiring 15 of 18 batters he faced, including 12 in a row.
- Lance Phillips set a career-high with four strikeouts in 2.0 innings of relief work.
- Andrew Benintendi recorded his team-leading sixth multi-RBI game of the year and leads the squad with 19 runs batted in on the season.
- Jacob Stone recorded his first win of the year after going 4-0 last season with four saves.
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