TEMPE, Ariz. – The Arkansas offense broke out with 11 runs on 13 hits and Razorback starter Ryne Stanek took care of the rest, throwing a complete game, allowing just three runs, as No. 19 Arkansas defeated Charlotte 11-3 on Sunday afternoon at Packard Stadium.
With the win, the Razorbacks improve to 40-21 on the season, while Charlotte closes the season with a 43-16 record. The 40 wins marks the 17th 40-win season for the Razorbacks in program history and the third straight year of at least 40 wins.
Arkansas now advances to the regional final where it will meet host school and top seed Arizona State. The Razorbacks must defeat the Sun Devils twice to advance to the Super Regionals. The two teams will meet tonight at 8 p.m. (CT). If Arkansas wins that game, the teams would play an if necessary game on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. (CT).
Arkansas put together a complete effort to down the 49ers as the offense scored its most runs since scoring 11 runs at San Diego State on March 11. It was the eighth double-digit run performance of the year for the Razorbacks. All nine Arkansas starters reached base and eight of the nine starters had at least one hit en route to pounding out 13 hits against the 49er pitching staff.
Bo Bigham had a team-high three hits with two RBI and two runs scored to lead Arkansas. Kyle Robinson added two hits and scored three runs, while James McCann also added three RBI. Collin Kuhn went 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
Dominic Ficociello went 1-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored. The bunt single in the first inning was his 75th hit of the season, tying him for the Arkansas freshman record, also held by Jeff King (1984).
On the other side of the equation, Stanek was outstanding on the mound for the second straight week to improve his record to 4-2 on the season. The freshman from Overland Park, Kan., threw his first career complete game, giving up just six hits and three runs, only two earned, while tying a career-high with six strikeouts. The complete game was just the second this season for the Razorbacks, joining DJ Baxendale, who went the distance in the series opener against Florida.
Charlotte starter Joe Yerman (6-3) was saddled with the loss after giving up six runs on six hits in four innings.
Arkansas jumped on Yermel in the opening inning, scoring four runs. With one out, Tim Carver walked and then stole second base. McCann struck out for the second out of the inning, but Carver moved to third on the strikeout. A perfect bunt by Ficociello up the third base line brought home Carver for the first run of the game. Kuhn singled into left field to advance Ficociello to second. Robinson hit a ringing double over the head of the Charlotte center fielder to plate two runs and increase the lead to 3-0. Jarrod McKinney closed the scoring in the inning with a double off the left field wall, chasing home Robinson.
The Razorbacks added on to their lead with three runs in the top of the fifth. Bigham singled to center to start the rally and then advanced to third on a hit-and-run single to left field by Carver. On the throw to third, Carver was able to move up to second. Bigham came into score when McCann laced a sacrifice fly to left field. Carver then stole third and the catcher’s throw to third went into left field, allowing Carver to score the sixth Arkansas run of the game. With two outs, Kuhn lined a single to center. After stealing second base, Kuhn came around to score after Robinson hit a triple off the center field wall
Charlotte got on the board with an opposite field lead off home run by Justin Seager over the right field fence to trim the lead to 7-1. The homer by Seager snapped a streak of 20.1 consecutive scoreless innings by Arkansas pitching.
Arkansas answered with two runs in the top of the sixth. Jacob Rice laid down a bunt single up the third base line to start the frame. With one out, Bigham singled into left field, moving Rice to second. A ground out to short by Carver advanced the runners to second and third. McCann came through with a clutch two-out, two-RBI single to left field to put the Razorbacks in front 9-1.
The 49ers tallied a run in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Shane Brown singled to center and then stole second. A deep fly ball to the right-center field alley that was caught by McKinney moved Brown to third. Justin Wilson scored Brown with a single into right field.
The Razorbacks tacked on three more runs in the top of the seventh. Robinson was hit by a pitch with one out and then moved to second after Rice drew a two-out walk. A wild pitch moved Robinson and Rice up a base and then Reynolds was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Bigham brought in two more runs with a single to center to stretch the lead to 11-2.
Charlotte closed the scoring with a run in the bottom of the ninth. Wilson singled to center to begin the inning and then moved to third after Corbin Shive reached on a fielding error by Reynolds at third. A sacrifice fly to left by Seager scored Wilson to make the final score 11-3 in favor of Arkansas.
Seager homered and drove in two runs to lead the 49ers at the plate. Wilson went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored.