Merryman, Goodner and Fox Combine To Throw Two
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas pitchers Josh Merryman, Boyd Goodner and Ryan Fox combined to throw the first two-hitter since 1999 as the Razorbacks posted an 8-2 victory over the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles Tuesday night.
Merryman, in his first start of the season, pitched five and two-thirds innings without allowing a hit and striking out a career-high seven batters. Merryman surrendered two runs, both earned, after ORU took advantage of a hit batter and a walk by the Razorback senior in the sixth inning.
Merryman hit Kevin Lamb with one out in the sixth and then walked Ryan Welborn before forcing Grant Plumley to hit into a fielder’s choice forcing Welborn out at second. Merryman was then lifted for Boyd Goodner who surrendered a single to center by David Castillo to plate ORU’s only two runs of the game.
The two-hitter is the first for the Razorbacks since David Walling (7.0 IP, one hit) and Greg Gilleland (2.0 IP, one hit) combined to two-hit the Florida Gators on April 2, 1999.
Merryman (1-0) earned his first win of the season. Ryan Fox pitched the ninth inning to close out the game for the Razorbacks allowing a two-out single to Dennis Bigley for the second hit of the night.
Dallas Martin took the loss for ORU to fall to 2-6 on the year.
Arkansas improved to 28-7 overall and recorded its eighth consecutive victory over the Golden Eagles. ORU dropped to 16-16 with the loss.
After neither team was able to cross the plate in the first four innings, the Razorbacks plated four of runs in the top of the fifth inning.
Ryan Fox began the inning with his 14th home run of the season, a solo blast over the wall in left field. It was Fox’s ninth home run in the last 11 games. The home run was also the 28th of Fox’s career tying him for ninth on the Arkansas all-time list with Kirk Piskor.
Scott Bridges followed Fox’s home run with a double down the left field line. With one out, Nick Pitts hit a chopper towards the hole that was fielded cleanly by the first baseman but the throw to the pitcher covering the bag sailed wide allowing Bridges to score from second. Pitts moved to second on the play.
Still in the fifth, but with two outs, Andrew Wishy hit a chopper back to relief pitcher Kris Kline. Another error cost the Golden Eagles as Kline threw wild past first allowing Pitts to score and move Wishy to second. Haas Pratt then doubled to left-center to bring Wishy home and give the Hogs a 4-0 lead.
The Razorbacks added to their lead with a run in the sixth inning. Brady Toops was hit by a pitch and came around to score on a fielder’s choice by Bridges.
Arkansas added to its lead in the ninth when Toops’ ground ball to short was booted by the shortstop allowing Pratt (single) to score from second. With Toops and Fox (hit-by-pitch) aboard, Bridges tripled to right-center for this second and third RBI of the night and push the Arkansas lead to 8-2.
Bridges finished the game with a career-best four hits to go along with his three RBI. Pratt added three hits for the Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks return to action this weekend with a road trip to Auburn, Ala., to take on the fifth-ranked Tigers. Game one is set for 6:30 p.m. CT Friday, April 18.
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