SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – No. 9 Arkansas took advantage five Missouri State errors and 10 walks in a 16-2 thrashing of the Bears on Wednesday night in front of 1,983 fans at Hammons Field.
The 14-run deficit for MSU equaled the worst loss in the four-year history of Hammons Field. The Bears fell 15-1 to Wichita State in the 2004 Missouri Valley Tournament.
It was the sixth straight win for the Razorbacks who improve to 30-10 on the season. Missouri State fell to 19-18 with their sixth straight loss.
The Bears’ pitching staff struggled from the start as six MSU pitchers surrendered 16 runs on 13 hits. Brad Secrist led the Hogs’ offense with three hits in five at bats, while Matt Willard went 2 for 5 with three RBI and Ben Tschepikow was 2 for 4. Danny Hamblin was 1 for 2 with two RBI, but left the game in the third inning after fouling a pitch off of his left calf muscle.
Hogs’ starter Dallas Keuchel (4-2) got the win with a solid start. He allowed just one run as he scattered six hits and struck out four. James Gilbert pitched two-scoreless innings out of the bullpen while Stephen Richards threw one-scoreless inning. Evan Cox, the Razorbacks’ fourth pitcher of the night, tossed two-scoreless innings before Brian McLelland allowed a run on two hits in the ninth inning. The UA pitching staff fanned 12 on the night and did not issue a walk.
Missouri State staked the Razorbacks to a big lead in the first inning when starter Jake Shafer failed to record an out after facing just five hitters. He walked Jake Dugger on four pitches and then surrendered his only hit to Sean Jones and followed with another walk to Logan Forsythe.
A catcher’s interference with Jeff Nutt at the plate scored the Hogs’ first run. Shafer then hit Hamblin on a 1-2 pitch to force home the second run and was lifted from the game for reliever Austin Todd. Todd then walked Jacob Julius and Tschepikow for UA’s third and fourth runs. Secrist grounded into a double play to plate Hamblin for the 5-0 lead.
Keuchel didn’t have a great first inning but the left-hander worked around three MSU hits and only allowed a single run on Paul Kyle’s RBI single to left field.
The Hogs sent 11 more hitters to the plate in the second inning and scored six runs on three hits and an error off two MSU pitchers. The Bears issued three walks in the inning with the big blow coming on a two-RBI single off the bat of Hamblin.
Willard singled home a run in the top of the fourth inning to extend the Razorbacks’ lead to 12-1. A Willard double in the eighth inning highlighted a four-run frame as the lead lengthened to 16-1.
Dallas Hord plated MSU’s second run in the bottom of the ninth inning with a single to right-center field off of McLelland.
The Razorbacks travel to Georgia this weekend for a three-game set with the Bulldogs at Foley Field. Friday’s night’s game is slated for a 5:37 p.m. start and will be televised on Cox Sports Television (channel 119 in NW Arkansas).