Arkansas hits 3 HRs, never trails in midweek sweep of Little Rock
HawgBeat's coverage of the Diamond Hogs' Road to Omaha is brought to you by CJ's Butcher Boy Burgers, which has locations in Fayetteville and Russellville.
Arkansas has had a penchant for the dramatic this season, but it led all 18 innings against Little Rock and easily swept the midweek series.
A trio of home runs accounted for half of the Razorbacks’ runs in a 10-3 win over the Trojans at Baum-Walker Stadium on Wednesday.
Little Rock was never closer than three runs in Arkansas’ sweep-clinching victory that improved the Razorbacks to 24-4 on the season. They outscored the Trojans 17-5 in the two games.
“It’s always a good feeling to have the lead, obviously,” head coach Dave Van Horn said. “Better than scratching, clawing, trying to come back like we’ve done so many times this year, but we’ve learned how to do it and we’re pretty good at it. But obviously I’d rather have the lead.”
Just as they did the day before, the Razorbacks got a first-inning home run to start the scoring, but this time there were runners on base.
After back-to-back walks by Robert Moore and Christian Franklin to start the inning, Brady Slavens crushed a 2-2 pitch over the fence in dead center for a three-run home run. It was his seventh home run, tying Franklin and Cayden Wallace for the team lead.
“He got in the hole a little bit (and they) tried to sneak a fastball by him there,” Van Horn said. “It was an elevated fastball…and that ball was hit extremely hard. Obviously the wind helped it get out of the park, but he squared it up really good. That was a big swing for us, got us three quick runs.”
It looked like that might be it for Arkansas in the first, as the next two batters struck out, but Charlie Welch turned on a 2-0 pitch and hit it into the Hog Pen for a solo home run - his third in just his 16th at bat of the year.
Knowing they wouldn’t have some of their top relievers available, that 4-0 lead allowed the Razorbacks to relax a little bit early.
In the fourth, Luke Wallner was an out away from the Trojans’ first 1-2-3 inning of the day, but Moore - batting from the left side - hit a 2-0 pitch off the scoreboard in right field. Not only did that make it 5-0, but it was also the Razorbacks’ 50th home run of the season.
Little Rock managed to scratch across a couple of runs in the fifth on consecutive RBI ground outs by Jorden Hussein and Tyler Williams, but it never really threatened to stage a comeback.
Dylan Leach pushed it back to a five-run margin when he hit an RBI triple and then scored on a wild pitch in the sixth, plus the Razorbacks added a trio of runs in the eighth.
After homering earlier, Moore and Slavens each had RBI singles in that frame. The latter of those actually drove in two, giving Slavens five RBIs for the game.
In addition to being tied for the team lead in home runs, Slavens now also leads all of the regulars in batting average (.307) and has a team-high 31 RBIs - seven more than anyone else.
“I really liked his two-strike adjustment, especially there in the bottom of the eighth,” Van Horn said. “He shortened up a little bit against that left-hander and just made contact and drove that single that drove in two runs. … Obviously he’s a middle-of-the-order hitter and for him to drive in runs is definitely going to help us win games.”
Much like Kole Ramage the previous day, Caleb Bolden bounced back from some recent struggles by giving the Razorbacks four scoreless innings Wednesday afternoon.
“Bolden got us off to a pretty good start,” Van Horn said. “A little shaky the first couple of hitters, then after that he got in the groove, threw a lot of strikes. It was good to see him pitch well like that.”
That “shaky” start included falling behind 3-0 to leadoff man Nathan Lyons. Although he eventually walked, he was erased when Dylan Leach threw him out trying to steal second and Bolden retired the next two batters.
You must be a member to read the full article. Subscribe now for instant access to all premium content.
Predict prospect commits with FanFutureCast
Exclusive highlights and interviews
Exclusive coverage of Rivals Camp Series
Breaking recruiting news