FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas baseball team (17-15) scored five runs in the first two innings Tuesday evening and cruised to an 8-1 victory over Mississippi Valley State (6-20-1) at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks jumped all over the Delta Devils in the first inning, scoring three runs on as many hits as Tyler Spoon and Cullen Gassaway provided RBI base knocks to provide the early lead.
Arkansas added two more runs in the second inning when Andrew Benintendi drilled an RBI triple to centerfield to plate Rick Nomura and Spoon followed with a double down the left field line to give the Razorbacks an early 5-0 advantage.
Gassaway was at it again in the fifth inning when he belted a two-run homer to left field for his second long ball of the year to give Arkansas a 7-0 lead.
Mississippi Valley State recorded a solo homer in the sixth inning, before Arkansas got the run back on a RBI single to the shortstop by pinch hitter Chad Spanberger to give the Razorbacks a seven-run victory.
Jacob Stone (2-2) earned the win in his first collegiate start, tossing 5.0 innings and giving up just one hit, while striking out a career-high five batters. He recorded the final 10 batters he faced before giving way to Josh Alberius for 3.0 innings and Kyle Pate for the final frame. Alberius tallied three strikeouts, while Pate punched out two of the three Delta Devils in the ninth inning.
Spoon’s four hits marked a career-high for the Van Buren, Arkansas native, while Gassaway’s three RBI was a season-best for the junior college transfer.
Arkansas and Mississippi Valley State will cap the midweek two-game set Wednesday afternoon with first pitch slated for 3:05 p.m. at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn on the Win: “It was good to get Jacob Stone out there and get him loosened up a little bit. I thought he pitched pretty well the first inning. Once he got through the first inning it seemed like he got better, found his breaking ball and threw it for a strike a lot more. I think he gained a lot of confidence. Hopefully that’ll loosen him up and get him ready for the weekend. It was a pretty good day. We kind of set the tone early offensively – lead off base hit and we ended up punching in three runs.”
Van Horn on Tyler Spoon’s success at the plate: “He had a really good approach. It wasn’t overpowering stuff that we were facing. He (Case) was more of a finesse guy, trying to spot the ball in and out, change up and breaking ball. Tyler just kept a real quiet approach and really showed some good hands on a few swings. The bat looked quick.”
Senior RHP Jacob Stone on his first career start: “It felt really good. I knew I needed to get out there and get a good rebound appearance. Saturday was pretty embarrassing – individually and for the team. No one ever wants to get walked off like that, so it was good to go out there and compete like I know I can and get the win tonight.”
- The Razorbacks improve to 10-2 when holding opponents to two runs or less and 13-1 when outhitting the opponent.
- Arkansas added its 16th game with double digit hits on the season, including three of the last four games.
- Arkansas has held MVSU to zero or one run in each of the last five games against the Delta Devils.
- The Razorback pitching staff has now recorded double-digit strikeouts 11 times this season.
- Spoon posted a career-high four hits and extended his current hitting streak to nine games.
- Jacob Stone set career-high marks for innings pitched (5.0) and strikeouts (15) as he retired the last 10 batters he faced.
- Cullen Gassaway recorded his second home run of the year and added a career-high three RBI.
- Josh Alerbius tied his career-high with three strikeouts.
- Andrew Benintendi added two more RBI and has 12 multi-RBI games on the year.
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