ARKANSAS 5, EVANSVILLE 2
Van Buren's Tyler Spoon won Saturday's game with a grand slam in eighth inning.
IN A NUTSHELL
Arkansas stranded 12 runners in the game, but Tyler Spoon made up for a day of frustration for the Razorbacks at the plate by planting a grand slam over the bleachers in left field to give the Hogs a 5-2 victory on Saturday at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas (6-1) and Evansville (1-4) were tied at one in the bottom of the eighth. Willie Schwanke started the inning off with a single to center. Jordan Farris pinch run for Schwanke. Brett McAfee sacrifice bunted Farris to second. Matt Vinson then hit a shot off the left-field wall for a double, but Farris tripped over third and couldn't score on the play. Jacob Morris was then hit by a pitch. Spoon then came on and brought the Razorback fans to their feet with his blast.
The Razorbacks got an outstanding start from Barrett Astin. Astin went six innings, allowed two hits, no runs and struck out five hitters. Cade Lynch, Jalen Beeks, Colby Suggs and Trent Daniel all pitched in relief. Beeks picked up the win pitching the top of the eighth allowing one run on two hits. Daniel got the save after Suggs struggled to find the strike zone.
Sam Johns started for Evansville and went 4 2/3 innings allowing only one run on two hits. He did walk six. Cole Isom pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief and allowed four hits, two runs and took the loss. Jake Naumann pitched 2/3 inning for the Aces.
Arkansas first baseman Eric Fisher was the only player on either team to get two hits in the game.
STATS THAT MATTER
3,371 Actual attendance for Saturday's game that was at 40 degrees when the first pitch was thrown at 1:04.
75 Number of pitches throw by Astin with 50 being strikes
25 Number of pitches thrown by Suggs in 1/3 of an inning.
7 Number of walks issued by Evansville pitchers.
2 Number of strikeouts by Arkansas' hitters.
Spoon, who had the grand slam and two walks on Saturday. Spoon entered the game hitting .391 for the Razorbacks as a redshirt freshman. Spoon has given Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn a perfect person to have in the three spot in the batting order.
Evansville center fielder Kevin Kaczmarsky who did have one hit in five at bats on Saturday, but also stranded four runners in the game. In fairness to Kaczmarsky, Arkansas' pitching had a lot to do with his off day at plate since he he entered the game hitting .438.
***True freshman Trey Killian will get his first start of the season on Sunday at 1:05 against Evansville. Killian has pitched three innings in relief in the season opener and didn't allow a hit. Killian is from Mountain Home.
***Arkansas second baseman Dominic Ficociello and left-handed pitcher Randall Fant still haven't played this season. Both are expected to be back next week when the Razorbacks go to Arizona State for four games.
Van Horn on Saturday's pitchers: “Barrett Astin threw extremely well. Randall Fant came in and gave us an inning. I almost went back with him another inning, but I don't want to push him yet. I'm trying to bring him along a little slowly. Beeks made some pretty good pitches after they got the lead-off hit. They punched one across. I think Suggs had good stuff, but just didn't have any command of it obviously. Daniel came in in a tough, tough situation.”
Van Horn on Spoon's grand slam: “We kind of set that inning up. We knew we had the eight-hole hitter leading off. Schwanke got the base hit. McAfee laid down a perfect bunt to get him over. We went back to the top of the order and put in a pinch runner who can run. I think Farris was having a little bit of a flashback. We got on him pretty good last night for not tagging up at second. Today, a different situation, tight game. Whenever you see that outfielder's back run. He was thinking about tagging and tried to make up for it and get all off stride. He fell and it was almost comical to be honest with you. We had a runner at second and third with one out. He hits Morris. We're feeling like we're going to get a run in. Tyler was looking for something he could elevate just try to stay out of the double play. He did a good job laying off the first pitch, a breaking ball. The second pitch was a fast ball and it was up and he hammered it. You can't hit a ball harder than that hardly.”
Van Horn on Arkansas' offense: “It looked like we were going to get after their starter early. Vinson took a little bit of a gamble on a ball that he thought was going to be in the dirt. He got thrown out then [Johns] walks two more. It was just a different type game, but you've got to give Evansville credit. They pitched us pretty well. I was just glad we finally put together that big inning there.”
Van Horn on stranding 12 runners: “Today was a day it bothered me a little bit. We left a lot of runners out there. Really, the runners that were left out there were with two outs. We couldn't get that two-out hit.”
Spoon on his grand slam: “The first pitch I got a breaking ball that was a ball. At 1-0, I was sitting fast ball. I just want to say an awesome job by Barrett and our pitching staff. They put us in the position where one hit could give us the lead.”
Daniel on getting the save after getting the loss this past Sunday: “It's nice to pick up one of my teammates (Suggs). Usually they have been picking me up recently. It was nice to get back out there and get in a situation like that. Get that blood pumping.”
Daniel on Spoon's grand slam: “I was in the bullpen so I got to see the moon rocket go by me. It was unreal to watch. I think it was the hardest (hit) ball I have ever seen while out in the bullpen.”
Arkansas and Evansville will play the series finale on Sunday at 1:05 with Killian facing Evansville right-hander Kyle Lloyd. Arkansas will be going for the series sweep.
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