FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 20 University of Arkansas baseball team rallied with a pair of sixth-inning runs Friday evening and used a stellar relief outing from sophomore Zach Jackson to rally past Loyola Marymount 2-1 in game one of a three-game series at Baum Stadium.
Jackson (2-0) posted his best outing of the year, coming on in relief and giving up just one hit in 5.1 innings of work, while striking out five Loyola Marymount hitters to earn the win. He came on for Trey Killian who made his 2015 debut and tossed 3.2 innings on a limited pitch count and allowed one run on four hits with four strikeouts. Killian was back to his old ways in the first inning, commanding the strike zone and throwing 10 pitches, all for strikes, in a perfect opening frame.
After leaving runners on base in four of the first five innings, the Arkansas offense finally broke through in the sixth inning when Andrew Benintendi raced to third base on a wild pitch and came home on a throwing error to knot the score at 1-1.
Bobby Wernes followed two batters later and gave the Razorbacks their first lead of the day as he guided a single through the right side and Tyler Spoon slid in under the tag at the plate to give Arkansas all the runs they would need in a 2-1 victory.
After Arkansas took the lead in the sixth inning, Jackson allowed a leadoff single in the seventh inning, but retired nine consecutive batters to slam the door and secure the Razorbacks’ season-best fourth consecutive victory to remain a perfect 7-0 at Baum Stadium.
Benintendi led the way at the plate, going 2-for-3 for his second straight multi-hit performance, while Michael Bernal added two hits of his own.
Arkansas and Loyola Marymount go right back at it in game two of the series Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium with first pitch slated for 3:05 p.m. on SEC Network Plus and the WatchESPN App.
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn on Zach Jackson’s outing: “I think he just kind of got it going a little bit; a little confidence. He’s been working extremely hard with Coach Jorn. They have been doing a lot of talking, a little soul searching and just trying to get it together a little bit; I think he did that. We were hoping that bringing him out of the pen would just change his mindset. He wasn’t told one hundred percent that he was pitching today; we just told him to be ready.”
Van Horn on Bobby Wernes’ big hit: “He sliced that ball through the right side and we knew the right fielder would play extremely shallow with the way the wind was blowing. With two outs in that situation, you just have to take a chance and make them make a play. The right fielder made a really good throw but it was little bit to the first base side and the catcher tried to catch it and tag all at the same time but didn’t secure the ball and we gained the lead.”
Arkansas Pitcher Zach Jackson on how his outing effected his confidence: “It was huge. Baseball is such a mental game. Trey put us in a good spot for me to go out there and have some success. It’s always nice to get that monkey off your back.”
Jackson on Trey Killian’s first game back from injury: “It’s nice having him back. It’s nice having a guy who you know is going to come through for you on Friday night; not only as a pitcher but as a leader. Just having his composer and leadership out there is indescribable.”
Arkansas Third Baseman Bobby Wernes on his hit to take the lead: “That pitcher had my number all three at-bats. I just tried to get my hands out to a fast ball, got jammed a bit. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. It squirted through and we took the lead there. I feel fortunate. He was pitching real well.”
- The Razorbacks moved to 7-0 when holding the opponent to two runs or less.
- The Arkansas pitching staff has held the opponent to two runs or less in four consecutive games.
- The pitching staff has given up just two earned runs over the last 32.0 innings.
- Tyler Spoon extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the second inning. He is now five games shy of his career-long hitting streak of 16 games.
- Zach Jackson closed out the game sitting down nine straight batters to cap off his season-long 5.1 innings of work.
- Trey Killian made his 2015 debut on a limited pitch count and throw 59 pitches in 3.2 innings of work.
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