FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas baseball team (24-15, 8-8 SEC) used a four-run first inning Friday evening to race out to an early lead and defeat No. 11 Vanderbilt (28-11, 7-9) 6-2 at Baum Stadium.
The fireworks started early for the Razorbacks, as Eric Fisher came to the plate with two on and two out in the first inning and belted his team-leading sixth home run of the year to right field. The long ball gave Fisher four home runs in the last five games and capped a four-run first inning for Arkansas.
Trey Killian took full advantage of the early lead and tossed 6.2 innings and gave up six hits and no earned runs to earn his second win of the season, while Zach Jackson and Michael Gunn slammed the door with three strikeouts in 2.1 relief innings.
Fisher added a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to give him a career-high four runs batted in on day, while Andrew Benintendi and Joe Serrano each tallied their 13th multi-hit games of the year. Blake Baxendale recorded two more hits and drove in a pair of runs to extend his hitting streak to four games.
Arkansas and Vanderbilt will play game two of the series Saturday evening at Baum Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. and will be televised live on Cox Sports Television.
For more information on Arkansas baseball, follow @RazorbackBSB on Twitter.
Coach Dave Van Horn Quotes:
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (Opening statement…) – "It was a big win for us, beating a quality team and getting back to .500 in league play. I’m just proud of the way the guys came out and competed early. I thought we really competed at the plate tonight against Beede."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (On facing Beede…) – "The mindset was to be aggressive and I think we did a good job of getting into a hitter’s count where we could be a little more aggressive. We did a good job of laying off breaking balls in the dirt, especially with a couple of strikes, and fought to get to the next pitch by fouling off a lot of pitches. The hitters competed well off a really good pitcher."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (On Killian’s performance…) – "It was a good team win, but there are a lot of individual stories within every team and that’s one of ours. It’s the game within the game. He’s kind of saved us and I’m glad to see him get a win by his name."
Eric Fisher has homered in four of the last five games, including four straight SEC games. Fisher extended his hitting streak to five games, currently the longest active streak on the team. Brian Anderson has reached base in 15 straight games and hit safely in 33 of 39 games this season. Arkansas has scored in the first inning in three straight games and is 11-2 when scoring in the first inning and 22-3 when scoring before the opponent. The Razorbacks have held their opponents to two runs or less in 22 of 39 games this year. After hitting nine home runs through the first 32 games, Arkansas has found a spark, hitting eight home runs in its last seven games. The Razorbacks have won at least one game in 23 straight SEC series dating back to 2012, currently the second-longest streak in the league behind Vanderbilt at 24. Jake Wise threw out a base stealer in the second inning to bring his season total to an SEC-leading 13 on the year. The Razorbacks have turned an SEC-leading 39 double plays. Arkansas has registered a double play in 23 of the team’s 39 games and at least two double plays in 13 games this season. Arkansas improves to 28-22 all-time against Vanderbilt, including a 15-9 record against the Commodores in Fayetteville.
How They Scored
Arkansas 1, Vanderbilt 0; Bottom 1: Blake Baxendale reached on a fielder’s choice; Andrew Benintendi scored from third base. Arkansas 4, Vanderbilt 0; Bottom 1: Eric Fisher homered to right field; Blake Baxendale and Joe Serrano scored. Arkansas 4, Vanderbilt 2; Top 3: Xavier Turner reached on throwing error; Jason Delay and Dansby Swanson scored. Arkansas 5, Vanderbilt 2; Bottom 3: Blake Baxendale singled to right field; Andrew Benintendi scored from second base. Arkansas 6, Vanderbilt 2; Bottom 5: Eric Fisher flied out to centerfield; Joe Serrano scored from third base.