NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas earned a come-from-behind, 7-2 victory against Memphis Tuesday evening in front of 10,062 fans at Dickey-Stephens Park.
Arkansas (16-4) broke open a tie game in the bottom of the eighth, batting around against Memphis (11-7) and scoring five runs on four hits.
Pinch hitter Tim Carver supplied the game-winning knock in the bottom of the eighth inning and recorded his 50th career RBI in the process. With Collin Kuhn on second and Matt Reynolds on first, Carver was summoned from the dugout to hit for Kyle Robinson in a 2-2 game with no outs. On a 2-2 pitch, Carver showed bunt and then knocked a single through the drawn-in infield to score Kuhn and advance Reynolds to third.
Dominic Ficociello plated another run with a double to left field that scored Reynolds. Bo Bigham increased the lead again two batters later when he hit a ground ball to third base and Carver beat the throw to the plate. The next pitch, Bigham stole second for his fifth stolen base of the season. After Matt Vinson worked a walk, Jarrod McKinney came to the plate with the bases loaded and knocked a sacrifice fly deep to center field that scored Ficociello. Jacob Rice provided the final margin with a single to right field that plated Bigham.
Randall Fant (1-1) earned the win after throwing four innings in relief. The sophomore left hander from Texarkana, Texas, faced 13 batters, just one over the minimum, and struck out three. Fant sat down 12 consecutive batters after allowing a single to the first Tiger that he faced. Sophomore DJ Baxendale pitched a perfect ninth inning to close out the game. Dane Sharp (0-2) got the loss for Memphis after allowing four runs in two-plus innings of work out of the bullpen.
Memphis scored first when Chad Zurcher knocked a two-out single up the middle to score Drew Martinez, who had worked a walk and stole second, in the top of the third. The Tigers added another run in the top of the fourth, courtesy of a one-out double to the left field corner by Phillip Chapman that scored T.J. Rich from first.
Arkansas answered back in the bottom of the fourth when Ficociello singled to right field to knock in Reynolds, who had walked and stole second to move into scoring position. Reynolds improved to 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts this season. Ficociello’s two-RBI game gives the freshman from Fullerton, Calif., 25 this season. James McCann tied the game at 2-2 with a solo homerun to left field leading off the bottom of the seventh inning. It was the second homerun and 13th RBI this season for the junior catcher from Santa Barbara, Calif.
Freshman Barrett Astin made his first collegiate start and struck out three batters while allowing five hits and two earned runs in four innings of work. He allowed a one-out single in the top of the first, but then struck out the next two batters to strand the runner on first. Astin cruised through the second inning, sitting down the Tigers in order on just seven pitches.
The Razorbacks won in Dickey-Stephens Park for the second consecutive year. Last season, UA picked up a 5-4 victory over Louisiana Tech. Arkansas and Memphis wrap up the two-game series Wednesday at AutoZone Park in Memphis. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.
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