FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally for a 6-5 win over Texas State in a back-and-forth non-conference game on Wednesday night at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks improve to 20-8 overall with the win, while Texas State falls to 19-9 with the setback.
Trailing 5-4 entering the bottom of the eighth, Arkansas rallied with a pair of runs. Bo Bigham led off the inning with a triple to the wall in right-center field. Jarrod McKinney followed with a triple of his own to center field, scoring Bigham to tie the game at five. With one out, Matt Reynolds drove in the eventual game-winning run with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring McKinney, who slid in just underneath the tag of the Texas State catcher.
In the top of the ninth, Arkansas closer Nolan Sanburn set down the Bobcats in order to earn his fourth save of the season and give the Razorbacks their 20th win of the campaign.
Arkansas banged out 13 hits in the contest, its highest hit total since a 16-hit performance against San Diego State on March 11. Four different Razorbacks had at least two hits, led by Collin Kuhn’s team-high three hits. Kuhn also added a run scored and two stolen bases. Bigham contributed two hits with a run scored, while Dominic Ficociello was 2-for-4 with a RBI. McKinney, who entered midway through the game as a pinch hitter and stayed in to play right field, was a perfect 2-for-2 with a RBI and a run scored. Kyle Robinson hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season and scored two runs.
Jeff McVaney led Texas State at the plate with three hits, including his fifth home run of the season. Casey Kalenkosky also homered, while Bret Atwood went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored.
Colby Suggs earned the first win of his collegiate career in relief, throwing 0.2 shutout innings and fanning both batters he faced. Sanburn picked up the save with a perfect ninth inning.
Dylan Adamek took the loss to drop to 2-2 on the season. Adamek gave up two runs on two hits in 0.2 of an inning.
Neither starter factored into the decision. Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek gave up two runs on two hits with four strikeouts in three innings. Texas State starter Mitchell Pitts surrendered two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts over 4.1 innings.
Texas State struck first with two runs in the top of the second, coming on back-to-back solo home runs by McVaney and Kalenkosky to start the inning.
Arkansas got a run back in the bottom of the second with a solo home run of its own, this one off the bat of Robinson. For Robinson, it was his team-leading fifth round-tripper of the season.
The Razorbacks had a chance to take their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth, but left two runners in scoring position. Ficociello hit the first pitch of the inning back up the middle for a single. James McCann followed with an infield single to the hole deep between shortstop and third base. A sacrifice bunt by Bigham moved the runners to second and third. Pitts was able to get out of the inning by inducing Jake Wise to fly out to shallow center and Jacob Morris to line out to the right fielder.
The Bobcats regained a two-run lead with a run in the top of the fifth. Cory Falvey drew a lead-off walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Clint Vest. Tyler Sibley flew out to Morris in center field, but after making the catch, Morris slipped, allowing Falvey to advance to third. Atwood drove in the run with a single through the left side of the infield.
Arkansas trimmed the lead to one with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Reynolds walked to lead off the inning. With one out, Sam Bates ripped a 3-2 pitch over the head of the right fielder and to the wall. Reynolds, who was running on the pitch, scored easily from first to cut the lead to 3-2.
The Razorbacks had another opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth, but again came up empty. McCann walked to start the inning and then moved to second on a stolen base. After a groundout by Bigham, McKinney reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners with one out. Morris struck out swinging for the second out. Arkansas attempted a double steal, but McCann was cut down at home to end the inning.
Texas State plated its fourth run of the game in the top of the seventh. Joey Fuda singled with one out and then moved to third after a stolen base and a throwing error on the steal. After a strikeout of Falvey, pinch hitter Isaac Nuti drove in Fuda on a bad hop single past Robinson at first base.
Arkansas pulled even with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Kuhn doubled down the left field line and moved to third on a wild pitch. After a strikeout by Franco Broyles, Robinson walked to put runners at first and third. A passed ball scored Kuhn and advanced Robinson to second base. Ficociello drove in the game-tying run with a RBI double down the left field line, evening the game at four.
Texas State again regained the lead with a run in the top of the eighth. Atwood singled to center to begin the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Kubitza. McVaney then beat out an infield single to short. Kubitza advanced to third and Robinson’s throw across the diamond to try to throw him out at third sailed high of Ficociello, allowing Kubitza to score the go-ahead run.
Arkansas resumes Southeastern Conference play this weekend, hosting No. 17 LSU in a three-game series. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. on Friday, 7 p.m. on Saturday and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday. Saturday’s game will be televised on ESPNU, while Sunday’s game will be shown on CST.