FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 15 University of Arkansas baseball team scored in all but one inning Tuesday on its way to a 15-3 win over Kansas at Baum Stadium. Jarrod McKinney hit his first career home run, had four RBI and scored four runs against the 25th-ranked Jayhawks, while Andy Wilkins added four RBI and Brett Eibner scored a career-high four runs in the victory. Monk Kreder also posted his first home run as a Razorback.
After giving up two early runs, the Razorback staff quieted the visitor’s bats, allowing just one more run to cross the plate in the final eight innings. Geoffrey Davenport, Tuesday’s winning pitcher, came on in relief of starter TJ Forrest to start the third and pitched a pair of scoreless innings. Arkansas went to its bullpen often during its first midweek game of the season, utilizing five pitchers against the Jayhawks. Arkansas (6-1) struck out 10 KU hitters and had just one walk.
"It was a tough day to play with the way the temperature was but I was really impressed with our pitchers," head coach Dave Van Horn said. "They threw a lot of strikes. You have to give these guys credit. It was 35 degrees and they are coming out of the bullpen, one right after another, throwing strikes and that was impressive. It gives you confidence in the bullpen."
Kansas (4-2) jumped out to the early advantage with a two-run first inning after a pair of two-out RBI hits from Jimmy Waters and Brett Lisher. Waters doubled to right center to drive in the Jayhawks’ first run and Lishner followed with a single to shallow center to plate the second run.
The Razorbacks got one of those runs back in their half of the first. McKinney and Collin Kuhn led off the game by drawing back-to-back walks out of Kansas starter Thomas Taylor. They both moved up a base on a passed ball. Wilkins then picked up his 10th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to center that scored McKinney. The inning ended without further damage as the Razorbacks left runners stranded on first and second.
Arkansas pulled even in the bottom of the third after an RBI double by Wilkins. McKinney led things off with a single up the middle. After a balk and a fly out, the sophomore outfielder stood at third base. He came around to score on Wilkins’ shot down the right-field line.
The scoring continued for the home team in the fourth. Arkansas took advantage of some control issues by the KU pitchers to plate two runs in the inning. With the bases loaded, Kansas reliever Tanner Popper uncorked a wild pitch that allowed James McCann to score from third. Later in the inning, with the bags full of Razorbacks, Wilkins drew a walk to push another run across the plate. Kansas’ pitchers walked 14 hitters during Tuesday’s game.
The Hogs extended their lead further with a five-run fifth inning. All of the runs were scored with two outs after a dropped fly ball by KU outfielder Casey Lytle. Matt Reynolds lofted a ball into right field that popped out of Lytle’s glove which allowed Eibner to score. The big hit of the inning belonged to McKinney. With runners on first and third, McKinney hit a three-run shot over the fence in left field. Wilkins capped the inning with his second RBI double of the ballgame, this time plating Kuhn.
Reynolds added an RBI single in the sixth. Shaking off some early season struggles, the freshman shortstop reached base four times against Kansas, including a pair of walks. In the seventh, Kreder tacked on two more runs for the Razorbacks with an opposite field home run down the right-field line. Kuhn, who singled to lead off the inning, scored in front of Kreder and Arkansas led, 12-2, after seven.
The Jayhawks added a third score in their half of the eighth on a solo home run by Jimmy Waters. It was the first home run of the season for Kansas.
Arkansas closed out its scoring with three runs in the bottom of the eighth. The first three hitters of the inning reached via walk to load the bases and McKinney picked up his fourth RBI of the game with a grounder that he beat out at first to avoid the double play. Kuhn then singled to left field to bring home Tim Carver. The bases were loaded later in the inning when Kreder drew a walk which brought in the Hogs’ final run of the game.
With a five-game winning streak in their pocket, the Razorbacks head to Berkeley, Calif., to take on the Cal Bears on their first road trip of the 2010 season. The three-game weekend set opens at Evans Diamond Friday afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (CT).