FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 7 University of Arkansas baseball team completed a midweek sweep of New Mexico with a 5-4 victory Wednesday night at Baum Stadium. Zack Cox drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and reliever Christian Kowalchuk secured the win out of the Razorback bullpen. Arkansas (28-6) has now won a season-high eight games in a row. Cox finished the night 3-for-5, his sixth straight multi-hit effort.
"We were pretty worn out from the Mississippi State trip," head coach Dave Van Horn said. "It was hot down there and I was worried about it. But the players came out, took care of business and it wasn’t anything fancy and we didn’t dominate anybody. We just went out and won and I told them I really appreciated that."
New Mexico (21-13) stranded three runners in the first inning as Arkansas starter Geoffrey Davenport worked out of trouble, including a bases-loaded situation. With one out and runners on the corners, Adam Courcha tried to score from third on a bunt by Chris Juarez but a charging Andy Wilkins fielded the ball and threw to home to cut down the runner. Later in the inning, after a walk loaded the bases for the Lobos, Davenport induced a tapper back to the mound to get out of the frame without allowing a run.
The Razorbacks wasted no time jumping on UNM starter Kenny Toves. The home team put together a three-run first inning to take the early lead. Brett Eibner doubled down the line in right field to plate Cox for Arkansas’ first run of the game. After a walk to Wilkins, Monk Kreder extended his hitting streak to 16 games with an RBI single to right which brought Eibner in to score. The bases were loaded after a walk to Travis Sample and the final run scored when Tim Carver walked to push Wilkins home from third. All of the Hogs’ runs were scored with two out in the inning.
Arkansas tacked on a run in the bottom of the third to take a 4-0 lead. With one down, the Razorbacks had back-to-back-to-back singles by Kreder, Sample and Carver. The base hit by Carver drove Kreder in from third. Sample pushed his hitting streak to 10 games with his single to right. During the streak, Sample is hitting .690 (20-for-29).
The Lobos cut into their deficit with two runs in the top of the fourth off reliever Jordan Pratt. Max Willett scored on an RBI double by Mitchell Garver, who came around to score later in the inning on a groundout by Adam Courcha. On a limited pitch count, Davenport gave up two hits in three scoreless innings of work before being relieved by Pratt.
In his second inning of work, Pratt allowed a leadoff double to Rafael Neda but responded by striking out the next three hitters to strand the runner at second. But the Lobos tagged Pratt for two runs in the top of the sixth to pull even on the scoreboard.
Ben Woodchick and Garver led off the inning with singles and each runner moved up a base after a sacrifice bunt. Woodchick scored New Mexico’s third run on a wild pitch by Pratt and Garver came around to score the game-tying run on a base hit by Courcha. Kowalchuk came in for the Hogs to record the final two outs of the inning.
The Razorbacks regained the lead in the bottom of the inning. Collin Kuhn had a one-out double to left field and moved over to third on a wild pitch. After a walk to Bo Bigham, Cox drove in the go-ahead run with a single through the right side of the infield. Arkansas led, 5-4, after six complete innings.
Kowalchuk kept New Mexico off the scoreboard, and off the bases, for the remainder of the game. The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native worked 3.2 innings of perfect baseball. He didn’t surrender a hit or walk while striking out two Lobo hitters. Kowalchuk bumped his record to 3-0. Toves was charged with the loss and falls to 2-1.
With their midweek games behind them, the Razorbacks will turn their attention to this weekend’s Southeastern Conference matchup against Georgia. Arkansas will host the Bulldogs in a three-game series at Baum Stadium, beginning with Friday’s opener at 6 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN2 and will be available live on ESPN3.com (formerly ESPN360.com).