FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 6 Arkansas got three hits from Jake Dugger and quality relief appearances out of freshmen Chad Pierce and Even Cox to outlast Northern Colorado 9-7 on Wednesday night in front of 2,089 fans at Baum Stadium.
The win completed the two-game sweep of the Bears and improved the Razorbacks record to 24-8 on the season, while UNC falls to 7-17.
Pierce earned his first collegiate win out of the bullpen with a career-long 3.2 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits, but fanned four and issued just one walk. Scott Limbocker made the first started of his career and allowed three runs on four hits in 2.1 innings.
Evan Cox made his second career appearance and earned his first save. He pitched three innings and gave up two runs on four hits. He struck out a career-high five and did not walk a batter.
Eric Maydew took the loss for Northern Colorado, giving up eight runs – seven earned – on six hits in 4.2 innings or work.
Dugger paced the Razorbacks’ nine-hit attack, going 3 for 4 with a RBI. Casey Coon also collected two hits while Matt Willard drove in a career-best four runs.
Willard put the Hogs back on top for good in the fifth inning with a two-out bases-clearing triple into right-center field. The three-RBI triple was the first triple of Willard’s career. Dugger followed with a RBI single through the right side to extend the lead to 9-5.
Forsythe tied things up earlier in the fifth inning with a RBI double in the left-center field gap. He has now hit in five straight games and 25 of his last 27.
Northern Colorado got two runs back in the top of the eighth inning to draw within 9-7 with a solo home run off the bat of Chad Murray and a two-out RBI single by Nate Saylor.
A little fundamental baseball led to the Razorbacks first run in the second inning. Forsythe led off with a walk and promptly stole second base. Brian Walker’s fly out to right-center field moved Forsythe to third base and Hamblin then drove him in with a sacrifice fly to right field.
It was Hamblin’s 185th career RBI, moving him past Greg D’Alexander for third place in school history.
Northern Colorado answered back with three runs in the top of the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. The Bears collected four hits in the inning with the big blows coming from a RBI double by Kevin Sandberg and then a two-RBI single to left field off reliever Pierce.
Two two-out hits led to two runs for the Hogs in the bottom of the third inning. Casey Coon singled to center field, but UNC center fielder Trey Keene had the ball roll under his glove and that allowed Sean Jones to score from first. Jeff Nutt then followed with a RBI single up the middle to plate Coon and tie the score at 3-3.
Pierce surrendered two more runs in the fourth inning on a two-out, two-RBI single by Cory Morales off the glove of a diving Tim Smalling at shortstop to make it 5-3 Bears. Willard plated a run in the bottom half of the inning for Arkansas with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Matt Murray connected for his first home run of the season in the eighth off Cox and Nate Saylor followed with a RBI single to close out the scoring.
Arkansas continues its nine-game homestand Friday night against SEC West foe Mississippi State. The first pitch schedule for at 7:05 p.m. from Baum Stadium.