TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Mike Bolsinger pitched five innings of relief after three rain delays, giving up no runs on four hits to lead the No. 16 Arkansas Razorback Baseball team to a 7-2 win over the No. 5 Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee, Fla., on Friday to take a 1-0 lead in the NCAA Super Regional.
The Razorbacks (38-22) pick up their 16th win against a ranked team this season and fourth in row while Florida State (45-17) saw its 18-game winning streak snapped with the Razorback win. The duration of Friday’s game went three hours and two minutes in the box score but after three rain delays and more than six hours of waiting, the 12:05 p.m. first pitch contest finally finished at 9:14 p.m., nine hours and nine minutes from beginning to end.
The Razorbacks took advantage of several Florida State miscues both in the field and on the pitcher’s mound, capitalizing on three Florida State errors and six walks. The Razorbacks tallied their seven runs on just five hits while Bolsinger and Dallas Keuchel confounded Florida State hitters in the clutch forcing the Seminoles to strand 14 base runners over the nine-inning affair.
The first rain delay of the game came in the bottom of the first inning. A leadoff double placed a runner at second, and then with one out and a 3-2 count on the next batter the umpires removed the teams from the field after just 12 minutes of play. The teams returned to the field 48 minutes later and Arkansas’ starter, Keuchel, would get out of a two-man on, one out jam by forcing a ground out and fly out.
Arkansas scored the first run of the game in the top of the second inning with two outs when Zack Cox stroked a home run over the center-field fence. The historic shot gave the Louisville, Ky., native the Arkansas school record for home runs by a freshman (12), breaking the mark of Brian Kirby set in 1998.
Florida State tied the score at one in the bottom of the second when an error on the first batter came back to bite the Hogs. The error was followed by a single and after a pair of fly outs; Tyler Holt delivered his second hit of the game, a single through the left side of the infield that scored the runner from second.
The Seminoles tried to start a two-out rally in the third, but an outstanding play by Brett Eibner in center field kept the score tied at one. Florida State picked up a two-out single and the next batter hit a deep fly ball to center field that Eibner went back on. Making a leap at the wall, Eibner crashed into the padded structure and made the catch to end the inning.
The Razorbacks had an opportunity to have a big inning in the top of the fourth but a 57 minute rain delay may have killed the momentum Arkansas had built. A leadoff single by Ben Tschepikow was followed by another single by Scott Lyons and a third single by Andy Wilkins loading the bases in a downpour. As soon as Wilkins reached base the umpires called both teams off the field to wait out the game’s second rain delay. After the break Bo Bigham grounded into a double play which scored Tschepikow from third to give the Razorbacks a 2-1 lead in the contest. Unfortunately, Arkansas’ bases loaded no out rally only produced one run.
Florida State had things going in the bottom of the fifth with back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, but the third rain delay of the game halted play at 3:08 p.m. A pair of thunder storms rolled through Tallahassee and sent Arkansas back to its hotel at 4:30 p.m. The Razorbacks and Seminoles picked up the contest at 7:30 p.m. and Florida St. quickly executed a sacrifice bunt, and then loaded the bases when Arkansas relief pitcher Mike Bolsinger hit the next batter. A high fly single into no-man’s land in right-center field scored one run to tie the game at two, but Bolsinger settled in to strike out the next batter and get a ground out to end the inning.
A patient Arkansas squad took the game’s largest lead in the top of the seventh inning when it scored three runs on no hits. A leadoff walk to Andy Wilkins was followed by another walk and then a hit batter, loading the bases with no outs. Brett Eibner followed with another walk to bring in Wilkins and James McCann’s sacrifice fly to deep right-center field scored Bigham. Arkansas’ third came across on a finely executed safety squeeze by Collin Kuhn, making it a 5-2 game.
The Hogs tacked on two additional runs in the eighth to make it a 7-2 game capitalizing this time on three Florida State errors. Wilkins reached on a one-out error and advanced to third when a failed pickoff attempt sailed past the first baseman. He would score on a wild pitch and after Bigham reached on an error by the second baseman and Cox hit a double off the wall in right-center, scored on McCann’s fielder’s choice to shortstop.
The Razorbacks and Seminoles continue their best of three series on Saturday with an 11 a.m. central start at Dick Howser Stadium. Saturday’s contest will air on ESPN2 with the Razorbacks having a chance to advance to the College World Series. For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.