SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Arkansas starting pitcher Cade Lynch threw six shutout innings with nine strikeouts, while James McCann went 2-for-3 with his first home run of the season to lead the Razorbacks to a 5-2 win over San Diego State on Sunday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
Arkansas takes three of four in the series and improves to 13-2 on the season, while San Diego State is now 3-13 on the year.
"It was basically a pitcher’s duel," Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. "It looked like it was going to get crazy on our end. We couldn’t get a big hit to put the game away. James (McCann) hit that home run to make the score 5-0, but we knew it was still going to be a tight game. They got it going with some walks and a sacrifice fly in the eighth. I thought we played great defense all weekend."
Lynch improved his record to 2-0 on the season, turning in the best start of his Razorback career. The Jonesboro, Ark., native threw six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out a career-best nine batters. After allowing a leadoff single in the second, Lynch retired 11 straight batters, with seven strikeouts in that span. Lynch only allowed one hit after the second inning.
"Once Cade (Lynch) got through the first inning, we felt good," Van Horn said. "If he starts out a little slow, he’ll zoom through the next few innings. Anytime he got into trouble, he always found a way to make pitches. I’m proud of him. He had a really good outing."
Trent Daniel earned his first collegiate save, throwing two shutout innings with four strikeouts. Daniel came in with the bases loaded in the eighth inning and no one out and limited the Aztecs to just two runs. He threw a perfect ninth inning to close the game.
San Diego State starter Bryan Crabb took the loss, giving up four runs, three earned, on three hits in 4.1 innings.
Arkansas managed just four hits in the game, with the bottom third of the Razorback order accounting for all four hits and the five runs scored. McCann led the offense with a 2-for-3 game, including his first home run of the season and three runs scored. Matt Vinson scored twice and went 1-for-2, while Tim Carver also had a hit. Collin Kuhn didn’t have a hit in the game, but did drive in a pair of runs.
Carver also had a great day in the field, making back-to-back outstanding plays in the bottom of the sixth. On the first, Carver ranged deep in the hole at short on a sharply hit ground ball, made a perfect throw to first from shallow left field for the first out of the inning. The next batter hit a sharp ground ball up the middle. Carver went to his right, grabbed the ball, spun and threw to first in time to retire him for the second out.
Four different Aztecs recorded a hit to account for the San Diego State offense. Chris Wilson and Ben Vasko each had an RBI for SDSU.
Arkansas started the scoring with two runs in the third. McCann led off the inning with a single to left and moved to second on a walk by Vinson. Carver laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the pitcher’s throw to first pulled the first baseman off the bag allowing Carver to reach and loading the bases with nobody out. Kuhn reached on a fielder’s choice to short as McCann scored from third. Eric Fisher hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Vinson to put the Razorbacks in front 2-0.
Arkansas doubled its lead with two runs in the fifth. McCann drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on an infield single by Vinson. Carver loaded the bases with a bunt single. Kuhn drove home the third run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right. A wild pitch scored Vinson to extend the lead to 4-0.
The Razorbacks made the score 5-0 in the seventh. McCann led off the inning with his first home run of the season, a solo shot that sailed over the 410 foot sign in straightaway center field.
San Diego State made things interesting with two runs in the eighth. The first three batters of the inning walked. Wilson then hit a single to left center field, scoring one run to cut the lead to 5-1. With one out, Vasko hit a sacrifice fly to right field for the second Aztec run. After a walk to Brandon Meredith, Daniel struck out Denny Vigo looking to end the inning and keep Arkansas in front by three.
San Diego State went quietly in the ninth inning as the Razorbacks held on for the series-clinching win.
Arkansas returns home on Tuesday, hosting Kansas. First pitch against the Jayhawks is scheduled for 3:05 p.m and the game will be available on the RazorVision portal on ArkansasRazorbacks.com and on the Razorback Baseball Radio Network from IMG College.