Campbell Deals As Hogs Take SEC Opener
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Redshirt junior Isaiah Campbell was dominant once again as he racked up 11 strikeouts over seven innings to lead the 10th-ranked Razorback baseball team to a 2-0 shutout over Missouri in its Southeastern Conference opener Friday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Campbell’s performance was just the start of the phenomenal wire-to-wire night by the entire Arkansas pitching staff that saw a combined two hits allowed, three walks and 15 strikeouts. For Campbell, it was his third-straight outing of six or more innings and 10 or more strikeouts, becoming the first Hog pitcher since Trevor Stephan in 2017 to strikeout 10 or more in three-consecutive outings.
Arkansas (15-2, 1-0 SEC) opens conference play with a victory for the third-straight year and it’s the first conference-opening shutout for the team since beating Georgia, 1-0, in 1992, the program’s first official conference game as part of the SEC.
Campbell set the table, but it was Jacob Kostyshock and Matt Cronin that closed things out in the eighth and ninth inning. Both juniors worked an inning each and allowed only one baserunner. Cronin earned his fifth save of the year and has garnered a win or a save in six of his seven outings this season.
Arkansas’ hitters weren’t able to jump on Missouri starter Jacob Cantleberry too easily, but were able to scratch across runs in the first and fourth to be enough to give the Tigers’ junior his first loss of the season. The Hogs managed five hits and two walks against Cantleberry and got the runs in via a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly.
Sophomore Matt Goodheart broke out of a slump in a big way, going 2-for-3 with two doubles, a run scored, an RBI and a walk. He had yet to tally a multi-hit game since the season opener against Eastern Illinois (Feb. 16) and was only hitting .241 coming into Friday’s game.
Nesbit Extends On-Base Streak
Redshirt freshman Jacob Nesbit extended his team-best hit streak to seven games and on-base streak to 14 games with a lone single in the seventh inning. Even though the single didn’t lead to any runs, he was still able to provide the key insurance run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Goodheart for his 11th RBI of the year.
Arkansas Pitching Staff Rolls On
Over the last four games, Arkansas’ pitching has been virtually unhittable. With 55 strikeouts over the previous 35 innings and only one run allowed and no extra-base hits, the Razorbacks have already recorded half of the number of shutouts (3) that they had during the entire 2018 season (6).
“He saw the ball well tonight. He squared up two or three balls, took a nice walk and really didn’t go out of the zone too much. He had a really good night.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on Matt Goodheart’s two-hit night
“I thought he was really good in the middle of the game. The fourth, fifth, sixth, those were his best innings. Just obviously throwing a lot of strikes, locating that fastball in and away, both sides of the plate. He had a couple of innings in there, maybe the fifth and the sixth, where he utilized his cutter a little more and his changeup and got a couple of quick ground balls. It seemed like he had them all rolling tonight.” – Dave Van Horn on Isaiah Campbell seven-inning, 11-strikeout performance
“I saw a Friday night ace. He came out and he really just set the tone from the start of it. Having an ending of the year like last year, where he built some confidence off that and brings it into this year and he’s going to be a tough one every Friday night this year for whoever we’re playing. That’s just big if you can win game one of a series. We saw it last year with Blaine Knight and how far it got us. If Isaiah can do that again, it’s going to be huge.” – Matt Cronin on Isaiah Campbell’s outing
“It’s just a Friday night in the SEC. We’re going to get their best on the other side. For me, I just got to take it one pitch at a time, and when I take it one pitch at a time, you just can’t dwell in the past if I’m getting behind on counts and stuff, and that’s just what I did tonight. It paid off really well.” – Isaiah Campbell on pitching in a tight game in the SEC
Arkansas and Missouri will return to the field at Baum-Walker Stadium for game two of the series. The Hogs will be looking for their 18th-straight home series victory dating back to 2017 and will have first pitch at 2 p.m. on SEC Network+.
For more information on Razorback Baseball, follow @RazorbackBSB on Twitter.