FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas southpaw Nick Schmidt tossed six innings of scoreless baseball on Friday afternoon on a warm and windy day at Baum Stadium as the fifth-ranked Razorbacks cruised to a 12-1 win over Illinois State.
A crowd of 5,137 fans witnessed Schmidt improved to 2-0 on the season, allowing just three hits and striking out two. He lowered his ERA to an impressive 1.71 and his opponent batting average to .147.
Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks won their fifth straight game to move to 8-2 on the season while Illinois State fell to 1-3.
The Hogs’ offense pounded out 12 runs on 12 hits to hand ISU starter Eric Theisen (1-1) his first loss of the season. He allowed five runs – four earned – on six hits over 4.1 innings while walking two and striking out three. Theisen threw seven-scoreless innings while fanning nine last weekend in a win over New Mexico.
Jake Dugger, Jacob Julius, Brian Walker and Tim Smalling led the way for the Hogs with two hits apiece. Walker and designated hitter Jeff Nutt both drove in two runs to pace the Razorbacks.
Arkansas broke on top with a single run in the bottom of the third inning when Dugger smoked a two-out double into a stiff wind over the head of the right fielder.
The Hogs then broke it open with four runs in the fifth inning. Walker and Ben Tschepikow delivered RBI singles in the inning while the Redbirds’ pitching staff forced in runs by hitting Nutt and walking Hamblin.
UA tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning with a RBI single by Casey Coon and a sacrifice fly to left field by Nutt. The Hogs extended the lead to 9-0 in the seventh inning with a RBI single by Walker and a ground out by Smalling.
Illinois State scored its only run of the game in the top of the eighth inning with a two-out double off the wall in left field by Jesse Griswold.
Arkansas then plated three runs in the eighth inning with a little help as the Redbirds committed two errors and uncorked four wild pitches from reliever Josh Schultz.
Travis Hill worked one-scoreless inning out of the bullpen. Freshman lefty Scott Limbocker finished off the final two innings, allowing one run on two hits and fanning three.
The Razorbacks and Redbirds return to the diamond on Saturday for the second game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.