FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas pitchers DJ Baxendale and Cade Lynch combined for a seven-hit shutout to lead Arkansas to a 5-0 win over Delaware State on Friday afternoon at Baum Stadium in front of an Arkansas opening-day record crowd of 8,602.
"I thought we played pretty well," Arkansas baseball head coach Dave Van Horn said. "We made a couple of base-running mistakes, but we also did some good things on the bases. Obviously the key was that our pitching was good and we threw a lot of strikes."
The Razorbacks set a new opening-day attendance mark in both paid and actual attendance. The paid crowd of 8,602 broke the previous record of 8,297 set against Washington State on February 20, 2009. The actual attendance for Friday’s game was announced at 7,526, shattering the previous record of 6,523, also set against Washington State in 2009.
With the win, Arkansas won its 17th straight season opener and improved to 41-11 in season lid-lifters since the 1960 season.
Baxendale and Lynch were dominant on the mound, combining for 14 strikeouts and allowing just seven hits to pick up the shutout. Baxendale earned his first collegiate win, giving up four hits over five innings and fanning a career-high seven. Making his collegiate debut, Lynch earned the four-inning save, giving up three hits and also striking out seven. The shutout was the first for Arkansas since May 9, 2010, when the Razorbacks blanked Ole Miss, 7-0. It was also the fourth ever on opening day and the first opening-day white washing since 2004.
Bo Bigham and Kyle Robinson each had two hits to lead the Razorback offense. Robinson added a RBI and scored a run, while Collin Kuhn was 1-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored as well. Jarrod McKinney reached base all three times he came to the plate, getting a hit and walking twice.
Jordan Elliot suffered the loss for Delaware State, giving up a run on three hits with four strikeouts in five innings of action.
Troy Drummond and Brandon Crist each had two hits to lead the Hornet offense.
Delaware State threatened in the top of the first, but Baxendale was able to work out of trouble. Drummond swung at the first pitch he saw and lined a single up the middle. After a bunt single by Scott Davis put runners at first and second, Baxendale retired the next three hitters, striking out Trey DeRouen and Tony Gatto and forcing Ryan Haas to line out to left.
Arkansas got on the board in the home half of the second without the benefit of a hit. With one out, James McCann walked and then stole second with two outs. McKinney and Tim Carver followed with back-to-back walks to load the bases. Collin Kuhn drew a five-pitch walk to plate McCann for the game’s first run.
The Razorbacks added on to their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Robinson opened the frame with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a groundout by Dominic Ficociello. Robinson came in to score on a balk by Delaware State pitcher Derek Marshallsea. After a groundout by McCann, Matt Vinson tripled to the right-center field alley and came in to score on a wild pitch. McKinney drew his second walk of the game and came in to score after a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Tim Carver and some defensive trouble by the Delaware State center fielder.
Arkansas closed the scoring in the bottom of the seventh with a run. Kuhn led off the inning with a single to left and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bo Bigham. Matt Reynolds reached first and Kuhn moved to third after a fielding error by the Hornet shortstop. Robinson collected his first RBI of the season on a line drive to left to score Kuhn to make the score 5-0 Arkansas.
The Razorbacks and Hornets resume the series on Saturday with first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m. Junior lefty Geoffrey Davenport will take the hill for Arkansas, while Delaware State will counter with sophomore right-handed pitcher Elliott Gardner. 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.