Campbell, Arkansas Pitching Drives DH Sweep
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Isaiah Campbell and the Razorback pitching staff had, arguably, its best outings of the season Friday night as 12th-ranked Arkansas swept a doubleheader with Stony Brook, 3-1 and 4-3, at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Campbell, making his third start of the year, tallied a career-high 13 strikeouts in the game one win, five more than his previous high of eight that he totaled against No. 4 Kentucky last year. He also worked through seven scoreless innings and only allowed four baserunners, three by hits, in what ended up being his longest outing of the year.
Redshirt junior Kevin Kopps and junior closer Matt Cronin finished off the final two innings for the Hogs in game one, striking out a combined five batters to help tie the Arkansas single-game record for strikeouts in a game (18, Missouri State – March 25, 2009; Grand Canyon – April 5, 2017).
It was a strong day throughout both games for the pitching staff as Cody Scroggins, Kole Ramage and Jacob Kostyshock, struck out 11 more batters in game two to give the Razorbacks a total of 29 strikeouts on the day. Scroggins, who was making his second-consecutive start, struggled early, but settled in to work 3.1 innings, while Ramage earned the win out of the bullpen, his third of the year.
Kostyshock picked up the save, throwing a nearly perfect eighth and ninth innings. He did put the tying run on third after a throwing error on a comebacker to the pitcher sailed into the stands behind first base. However, he settled back in and struck out the final batter to finish off his first save of the season.
Game 1 | Arkansas 3, Stony Brook 1 (Box Score)
Arkansas’ offense wasn’t as powerful as had been seen in recent weeks. The Hogs scattered six hits in the game, all coming from six different players. Fortunately, the Razorbacks got the hits when they needed them, scoring a run in the fifth and two in the sixth to take a 3-0 lead.
Fletcher led off the fifth with a double off the right-centerfield wall, missing his second home run of the year by inches. He was followed by a perfect bunt down the third-base line by Matt Goodheart that got beaten out for an infield single. Casey Opitz finished the scoring opportunity with a ground ball to the right side, scoring Fletcher from third, and notching his fifth RBI of the year.
In the sixth, Arkansas led off the frame with another double, this one coming from Casey Martin, which extended his hitting streak to eight games. He was driven in by a triple to deep right-centerfield by Trevor Ezell, Arkansas’ second triple of the year. Ezell scored in the next at-bat on a wild pitch after Stony Brook made a pitching change.
Cronin picked up his third save of the year even after he ran into some trouble in the ninth inning. Two singles put the tying run on base and then a walk loaded the bases with two outs before he struck out the final batter to lock up his third save in as many appearances.
Game 2 | Arkansas 4, Stony Brook 3 (Box Score)
Game two was nearly a similar performance for the Hog offense as in game one, but a couple of Razorbacks were able to record multi-hit games, including sophomore Heston Kjerstad, who broke out for a 3-for-4 game, his first three-hit game of the season.
Kjerstad was struggling at the plate in recent weeks, recording only one hit in six of the previous eight games, but totaled his ninth three-hit game of his career as his single in the third drove in Arkansas’ third run of the game to give it its first lead.
He followed that with a hustling double in the fifth where he legged out what should have been a normal single up the middle, but was able to beat the throw back in from the outfield for a two-bagger. He ended up scoring two batters later on sacrifice fly that ended up being the winning run.
Kjerstad entered the day with a .219 batting average, but raised it to .275 after his four-hit day in the doubleheader.
On the mound, Ramage earned his third win of the year after throwing 3.2 scoreless innings, his longest outing of the year, and four strikeouts. Arkansas pitching not only racked up the strikeouts, but it minimized the walks as only four batters reached via walk combined in Friday’s games.
Arkansas and Stony Brook will finish off their series on Saturday with first pitch set at 2 p.m. at Baum-Walker Stadium. The original game time of 3 p.m. was changed due to the impending weather conditions that are expected to develop over the afternoon. The game will still be broadcast on SEC Network+ and on the radio via the Razorback Sports Network with Scott Inman and Bubba Carpenter calling the game.
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