FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A five-run fifth inning was the catalyst in No. 10 Arkansas’ 8-7 win over Kansas on Friday afternoon in front of 1,955 fans at Baum Stadium.
The Razorbacks improved to 11-5 on the season with the one-run win while the Jayhawks fell to 11-6 on the year. The five-run fifth inning was the 22nd inning this season the Hogs had scored three or more runs in an inning.
Dallas Keuchel (2-1) earned the win out of the bullpen with 3.2 innings of relief. He scattered four hits, allowing just one run, while fanning four. Chris Rhoads earned his first save of the season by getting the final two outs in the ninth inning.
Jake Dugger led the Hogs’ 10-hit attack, going 3 for 5 with a home run, double and two RBI. Casey Coon and Jeff Nutt both collected two hits each with Nutt driving in three runs.
Arkansas staked junior right-hander Jess Todd to a 2-0 lead in the third inning on Dugger’s two-run homer into the KU bullpen in right field. It was Dugger’s third home run of the season and his eighth and ninth RBI of the season.
Todd, who was making his first start of the season, was dominant through the first 4.1 innings allowing just one hit. But he ran into trouble in the fifth after recording his eighth strikeout by sitting down KU’s Erick Morrison to open the inning.
The Jayhawks then got to Todd for four hits and a walk, highlighted by a bases-clearing double down the right-field line by Kyle Murphy for a 4-2 lead. KU’s fifth run of the inning scored on a throwing error by Ben Tschepikow at second base on Jeff Allman’s ground ball. Keuchel then replaced Todd and got a pop up to second base to end the inning.
Todd did not get a decision after pitching 4.2 innings and allowing five runs – four earned – on five hits. He walked one and fanned eight on 83 pitches.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning Matt Willard sparked the Hogs’ rally with a sharp single up the middle. Dugger followed by ripping a double over the right-fielder’s head. Tschepikow was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Casey Coon plated the first run with a sacrifice fly to center field. It was his SEC-leading 27th RBI of the season. Logan Forsythe drew a walk to load the bases and Jeff Nutt singled off the pitcher’s glove into short left field to score two more and tie the game at five.
That was the end of the day for KU starter Zach Ashwood (2-2), who allowed seven runs – six earned – on six hits in 4.2 innings of work. He walked two and struck out five taking the loss.
Wayne Hrozek greeted reliever Andres Esquibel with a RBI double to right field. Nutt came around to score on the play as well as with a throwing error on the second baseman to make is 7-5.
The Razorbacks tacked on a run in the seventh inning on Nutt RBI double into the left-center field gap.
Kansas made things close in the ninth when Rhoads hung a 2-2 curveball to Murphy and he deposited it into the Razorbacks’ bullpen in left field to pull the Jayhawks within one at 8-7. Murphy finished 3 for 5 on the afternoon with two runs scored and five RBI.
The Razorbacks and Jayhawks square off on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. from Baum Stadium.