HONOLULU, Hawai’i – Nick Schmidt overcame a hostile crowd and a tight strike zone at Les Murakami Stadium on Thursday night to quiet No. 24 Hawai’i in front of 1,100 fans.
Schmidt allowed one run on just two hits, struck out six and walked five to improve to 4-0 on the season. The win improved the No. 11 Razorbacks’ record to 11-1, while the Rainbows fall to 12-5. The Hogs are now 2-0 against ranked teams this season.
“Nick was a little wild tonight,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “He is usually a strike machine, but the tight strike zone had him a little off balance.”
The two-hitter was the first for the Hogs since holding Oral Roberts to two hits on April 15, 2003.
Chris Hollensworth and James Ewing led the Razorbacks’ nine-hit attack with two hits each. Hawai’i ace RHP Steven Wright suffered his first loss of the season to fall to 3-1. He allowed five runs – four earned – on eight hits in 6.1 innings of work. He walked two and struck out nine but fell victim to three two-out base hits that led to an early Arkansas lead.
The Hogs put the first dent in the scoreboard with Ewing’s two-out double into the left-center field gap in the third inning. The double was his second of the season and his sixth RBI. It scored Chris Hollensworth, who had extended the inning with a two-out single to center field.
A two-out single by Blake Parker in the top of the fourth inning extended the lead to 2-0 and that would be all Schmidt would need.
Danny Hamblin extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a RBI single in the fifth inning. It was Hamblin’s team-leading 18th RBI of the season. Arkansas pushed across the fourth run of the night as Hamblin broke for second base and Ewing raced home from third base. Hamblin was thrown out at second base for the second out but Ewing scored easily.
Hawai’i scored its first run of the night cutting Arkansas’ lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Joe Spiers, who drew a two-out walk, moved to second on a hit batter and then stole third base without Schmidt ever throwing a pitch. An irritated Schmidt then uncorked a wild pitch that scored Spiers.
Stephen Robison’s leadoff double in the seventh inning came around to score on a wild pitch by Wright to give the Hogs a 5-1 lead.
The Rainbows two hits came from eight-hole hitter Eli Christensen and nine-hole hitter Joe Spiers.
Arkansas will play Texas-Arlington at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and then face the Mavericks again on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the final game of the tournament for the Hogs.