FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas baseball team (26-16) continued its trend of early-inning run production Tuesday evening and cruised to an 8-1 victory over Northwestern State (22-18) at Baum Stadium.
The offense was paced by a pair of stellar freshmen performances, as Blake Baxendale and Andrew Benintendi each recorded their first-career three-hit game. Baxendale’s three hits gave him multi-hit games in five of the last six contests, while Benintendi notched his team-high 14th multi-hit game of the year as he reached base in all five plate appearances.
The Razorbacks scored in the first inning for the fifth time in the last games when Brian Anderson lifted a sacrifice fly to centerfield for one of his three runs batted in on the night. He would add a two-run single to left field in the seventh inning as part of a three-run frame as Arkansas pulled away with five runs in its last two at-bats.
Joe Serrano and Michael Bernal joined the hit parade as five Razorbacks tallied a pair of base knocks and Arkansas reached double digits in the hit column for the 16th time this season.
The bullpen continued its perfection, as Jackson Lowery came in with the bases loaded in the fourth inning and escaped a jam for starter Colin Poché, before going 3.1 innings and not allowing a hit for his first win of the season. Jacob Stone and Dominic Taccolini each threw perfect hitless innings as the trio of relievers extended the bullpen’s scoreless streak to 21.0 consecutive innings.
Arkansas and Northwestern State will cap the two-game series Wednesday afternoon with first pitch set for 3:05 p.m. at Baum Stadium.
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Coach Dave Van Horn Quotes:
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (Opening Statement…) – "I thought we did a nice job today offensively, continuing to battle with two outs. We drove in four or five of those runs with two outs, one of them on an error on a ball that was hit hard. Our offense did a good job of continuing to swing the bat until the third out was made."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (On Blake Baxendale…) – "He has a done a really good job. He had a rough day on Sunday against Vanderbilt. I really wanted to go back with him. I’m sure he was ready to go and was excited to see his name in the lineup. He took full advantage of it with three hits, a couple RBI, and getting his batting average up and that’s good to see."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (On Andrew Benintendi’s success…) – "He did a great job. He’s been the guy that I mentioned about a week ago that I felt like was swinging the bat as good as he has since he has been here. I feel like he’s healthy and confident. He’s doing a tremendous job and that’s one reason we’ve been winning and scoring runs. He’s been on base scoring, stealing bases, and doing a great job for us."
The Razorbacks have scored in the first inning in five of the last six games. Arkansas is 13-2 when scoring in the first inning this season and 24-3 when scoring before its opponent. The 13 hits by the Arkansas offense is tied for the second-most in a single game this year and just one shy of the season-high 14 against South Alabama on Feb. 28. Blake Baxendale notched his first-career three-hit game and has at least two hits in five of the last six contests. The Arkansas bullpen has not allowed a run over the last 21.0 innings, including 5.1 innings of hitless action tonight against Northwestern State. With a pair of singles, Brian Anderson has reached base in 18 straight games and has hit safely in 36 of 42 games this season. Andrew Benintendi recorded his first career three-hit game and extended his streak of multiple hit games to a team leading 14. With Colin Poché’s pickoff in the third inning, Arkansas now has an SEC-leading 13 pickoffs on the year.
How They Scored
Arkansas 1, Northwestern State 0; Bottom 1: Brian Anderson hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield; Andrew Benintendi tagged and scored from third base. Arkansas 2, Northwestern State 0; Bottom 1: Blake Baxendale singled to left field; Joe Serrano scored from second base. Arkansas 3, Northwestern State 0; Bottom 2: Andrew Benintendi reached on a fielding error; Bobby Wernes scored from third base. Arkansas 3, Northwestern State 1; Top 4: Joel Atkinson singled up the middle; C.J. Webster scored from second base. Arkansas 5, Northwestern State 1; Bottom 7: Brian Anderson singled to left field and advanced to second on a throwing error; Andrew Benintendi scored from third base and Joe Serrano scored from second base. Arkansas 6, Northwestern State 1; Bottom 7: Blake Baxendale doubled to left field; Brian Anderson scored from second base. Arkansas 7, Northwestern State 1; Bottom 8: Tyler Spoon grounded out to the shortstop; Jake Wise scored from third base. Arkansas 8, Northwestern State 1; Bottom 8: Andrew Benintendi singled up the middle; Michael Bernal scored from third base.