FAYETTEVILLE — The No. 25 Arkansas baseball team (3-0) completed a sweep in its season-opening series against Appalachian State (0-3) with an 8-3 win on Sunday at Baum Stadium with an announced attendance of 8,102. The victory marked the 2,000th in program history.
Freshman starting pitcher Alex Phillips held Appalachian State to only three hits through three innings and struck out three. Fellow freshman Zach Jackson threw three no-hit innings with three strikeouts on the mound. Juniors Jacob Stone and Jackson Lowery and sophomore Colin Poché each pitched one shutout inning in relief. Stone (1-0) earned the win after a three-up, three-down seventh.
Freshman Andrew Benintendi and junior Joe Serrano paced the Razorback offense with two RBI each. Serrano hit a double in the seventh inning to plate Clark Eagan from second base with the go-ahead run before Arkansas added another run in the seventh and three in the eighth to pull away late in the game.
Arkansas is back in action Friday at Baum Stadium to start a three-game weekend series against Eastern Illinois. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Friday. The Razorbacks and Panthers are also scheduled to play at 1:05 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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Coach Van Horn QuotesArkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on LF-Joe Serrano and 2B-Brian Anderson’s back-to-back RBI in the 7th inning that put Arkansas in the lead) — “Joe missed a pitch 3-1 and was frustrated. He got the same pitch again and turned on it and hit a double down the left field line. That was a big at bat for us obviously. Brian was getting nothing but off speed today. They threw him a curve ball and he didn’t try to hit it out of the park; he did what you’re supposed to do and that is drive it back up the middle. That was a nice swing.”
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on the Razorbacks’ pitchers) — “I thought they did a very good job. That is a pretty good offense team. That team is going to put up some runs. They have some power. I would have to give our pitching staff a really good grade this weekend, especially with a couple of our veterans not getting any time. (Colin) Poché got an inning. (Trey) Killian is not out there yet and that will be a great addition when we get him back, but in the mean time we got some guys that got a little experience. The more they get the more it will help when conference play rolls around.”
Game Notes-Today’s win over Appalachian State marks the 2,000th in program history. Arkansas, which is in its 92nd season of baseball, has an all-time record of 2,000-1,265-6 (.612).
-This is the fifth season-opening sweep since 2008. The Razorbacks also opened the 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 seasons by sweeping their first opponent.
-Arkansas’ last series sweep was March 22-24, 2013 at South Carolina, and the Razorbacks’ last season-opening sweep was Feb. 17-19, 2012 against Villanova.
-Arkansas’ starting pitchers allowed seven hits while striking out 14 over 14 innings pitched. The hits allowed are the fewest in a three-game opening series since at least 1994, and the strikeout total is the highest since 2011 when DJ Baxendale, Geoffrey Davenport and Brandon Moore combined for 19 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched.
-Freshman Andrew Benintendi knocked in the first two RBI of his career during Sunday’s game. He earned his first RBI on a bases-loaded walk to tie the game in the 2nd and grounded out to first base with the bases loaded to score another run in the 8th.
-Sophomore team captain Tyler Spoon led the Razorbacks with five RBI during the series, and junior team captain Brian Anderson led Arkansas with a .500 batting average.
-Juniors Joe Serrano and Krisjon Wilkerson tied for the team lead with five runs scored during the series.
-Three Razorbacks made their Arkansas debut in Sunday’s game. Pitchers Alex Phillips, Zach Jackson and Jacob Stone became the 12th, 13th and 14th Razorbacks to debut this weekend. Arkansas entered the season with 27 student-athletes who had not appeared in a game for Arkansas, the highest number in the SEC.
How They Scored-Arkansas 1, Appalachian State 0; Bottom 1st: Tyler Spoon hit a double to center field to score Andrew Benintendi from second base.
-Arkansas 1, Appalachian State 1; Top 2nd: Michael Pierson hit a solo home run to right field.
-Arkansas 1, Appalachian State 2; Top 2nd: William head grounded out to first base to score Ozzy Gonzalez from third base.
-Arkansas 2, Appalachian State 2; Bottom 2nd: Andrew Benintendi walked to score Krisjon Wilkerson from third base.
-Arkansas 3, Appalachian State 2; Bottom 2nd: Joe Serrano hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Jake Wise from third base.
-Arkansas 3, Appalachian State 3; Top 3rd: Dillon Dobson hit a solo home run to right field.
-Arkansas 4, Appalachian State 3; Bottom 7th: Joe Serrano hit a double to left field to score Clark Eagan from second base.
-Arkansas 5, Appalachian State 3; Bottom 7th: Brian Anderson hit a single to center field to score Joe Serrano from second base.
-Arkansas 6, Appalachian State 3; Bottom 8th: Michael Bernal was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score Eric Fisher from third base.
-Arkansas 8, Appalachian State 3; Bottom 8th: Andrew Benintendi grounded out to first base to score Brett McAfee from third base, and Jake Wise scored from second base on an error.