FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas baseball team began its annual Cardinal-Black series Friday afternoon at Baum Stadium with the Black team taking the opener, 6-4, after hitting three home runs. Junior Travis Sample and freshmen Matthew Reynolds and Derrick Bleeker each cleared the fence giving starter Jason Fuqua all he needed to saddle up the win.
At the start of the contest, the Cardinal team took early control after sophomore Bo Bigham led off with a walk and then reached second on a wild pitch. He would score the game’s first run after a double to left center field by sophomore James McCann.
The Cardinal team added a second run in the bottom half of the third inning after sophomore Zack Cox reached on an infield single. After stealing second, Cox scored on a double to centerfield by sophomore Jarrod McKinney to give the Cardinal team a 2-0 lead after three innings of play.
Cardinal starter, sophomore Geoffrey Davenport was solid in his opening three innings giving up no runs on only two hits. In the top of fourth, the Black team took advantage of the lead-off blast by Reynolds and then a walk by junior Brett Eibner to take a 3-2 lead after a two-run home run to straight away center field by Sample. After giving up the homers, Davenport went on to pitch six innings, giving up three runs on only four hits.
Neither team would be able to push any runs across the plate in the fifth through seventh innings. The Cardinal team threatened in the sixth after freshman Andrew Pratt doubled down the left field line with only one out, but the run could not get across after the next two batters grounded out to end the inning.
The Black team added to their lead in the eighth inning. After a one-out single by sophomore Collin Kuhn, Brett Eibner reached first on a fielder’s choice. With Eibner on first, Cardinal team pitcher Jordan Pratt attempted a pickoff at first which ended up going over the first baseman’s head and allowing Kuhn to score, pushing the Black lead to 4-2.
In the top of the ninth inning, the Black team doubled their lead to 6-2 after a Tom Hauskey walk and the two-out, two-run shot by Bleeker.
The Cardinal team made a game out of it in the ninth after freshman Franco Broyles singled up the middle off senior T.J. Forrest to lead off the inning. After allowing the walk to Kyle Atkins, Forrest gave up a double down the left field line to Bigham, scoring both Broyles and Atkins. Bigham led the Cardinal team offensively, going 2-4 at the plate with twp RBI. Forrest settled down to close out the game after the two scores, giving the Black team the 6-4 win.
The Cardinal-Black series continues with game two of the best-of-five series on Saturday with an 11 a.m. start.