Goodwin Home Run Carries Hogs Past Illinois-Ch
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Clay Goodwin blasted a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Arkansas its first lead of the game as the 14th-ranked Razorbacks defeated Illinois-Chicago 7-4 Friday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
“Clay was looking for a first pitch fastball and guessing a little bit,” Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn said. “The pitch was actually up in the strike zone, and how he got on top of it, I don’t know how. Right when he hit it I knew it was going out of the park.”
A crowd of 3,318 saw the Hogs improve to 10-1 on the season after battling back from a 4-1 eighth-inning deficit. The Flames fell to 0-6 on the season.
“We never quit,” Van Horn said following the game. “We always thought we had a chance. We have some kids that are pretty tough mentally, and they hung in there.”
UIC starting pitcher Ryan Zink (0-3) pitched seven strong innings before the wheels came off in the eighth inning. The Razorbacks scored six runs on seven hits in the inning with five of the runs being charged to Zink.
He threw 122 pitches in his seven-plus innings of work, allowing six runs on 11 hits. He surrendered Goodwin’s game-winning home run on his 118th pitch of the game.
Lee Land (1-0) earned the win for Arkansas out of the bullpen after Nick Schmidt had pitched six strong innings. Lee gave up one hit in 1.2 innings, while Schmidt allowed only one hit six innings. Schmidt’s six innings of work was the most by a Razorback starter all season. He did allow two earned runs and walked three Flames’ batters.
Trey Holloway came on with one out in the ninth to record his third save of the season. He has now worked 12.2 innings this season without allowing a run.
Danny Hamblin and John Marquardt paced the Hogs with three hits apiece. Hamblin got the Razorbacks on the board with a solo home run in the fourth inning. It was his first of the year.
Casey Rowlett extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a two-out single in the first inning and then led off the eighth inning with a single. He is batting .500 (23 of 46) on the year to lead Arkansas’ offensive effort. UA is hitting .331 as a team and scoring seven runs per game.
Mike Bruszer went 2 for 5 with a RBI to pace Illinois-Chicago’s six-hit attack. Mark Haliberg, Bryan Russo, Nick Rainwater and Bryan Nolte also collected hits for the Flames.
The two teams are schedule to play the second game of the series at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday at Baum Stadium.
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