Clutch Hits And Pitching Lead Arkansas To Series-Opening Victory
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A Trey Harris pinch-hit double in the seventh and the Razorback pitching staff retiring the final 10 of 12 batters helped 10th-ranked Arkansas to a 4-2 series-opening victory over Louisiana Tech Friday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Redshirt junior right-hander Isaiah Campbell turned in another strong performance striking out 10 over six innings with only two runs allowed. He also didn’t walk a batter on 98 pitches, but had to settle for the no decision. It’s Campbell’s second-straight outing with 10 or more strikeouts, making him the first Razorback pitcher to achieve that since Trevor Stephan in 2017.
Kevin Kopps and Matt Cronin finished off the game’s final three innings, walking one and striking out four. Cronin picked up his fourth save in as many outings, while Kopps has only allowed one run in 6.2 innings over his four appearances this year.
Arkansas (11-1) struggled to piece together hits after scoring twice in the first inning on a Casey Opitz single up the middle. The Hogs only managed three singles in the second through sixth innings, but finally got the clutch hit in the seventh. Pinch hitter Trey Harris notched his first collegiate RBIs on a double down the left field line, scoring Opitz and Dominic Fletcher. Harris only had two hits entering the game, but had reached base six times in 14 plate appearances prior to Friday.
Junior Jack Kenley was the only Razorback hitter to record a multi-hit game as he went 2-for-4 for his third multi-hit game this year. Only Opitz, Harris, Kenley, Jacob Nesbit and Christian Franklin contributed to Arkansas’ six hits in the game.
Opitz Finds The Big Hit
Arkansas’ two runs in the first inning marked the fourth time this season the Hogs’ have been able to strike early. Thanks to three-consecutive one-out walks drawn by Heston Kjerstad, Trevor Ezell and Fletcher, the table was set for Opitz to drive in the game’s first runs. Opitz squared up an 0-2 pitch and sent it back past the mound and into centerfield. Opitz has at least one hit in seven of his 10 appearances and has driven in at least one run in three of his last four games.
‘Zay Day Is A Good Day
On the first run through of an opponent’s lineup in a given game this year, Isaiah Campbell has been practically dominant. Over his four starts, Campbell has only allowed five hits combined against the game’s first nine batters and three walks as hitters are batting just .156 in those first at-bats. On Friday, Campbell allowed the first two batters to reach via singles before he retired the next nine in a row.
“I thought our pitching staff did a tremendous job throwing strikes. I think we walked one. Isaiah (Campbell) struck out 10 and walked zero. He maybe didn’t have as good a stuff as last week which I really didn’t expect him to because he was awfully good last week. Then you go with Kevin Kopps and he goes and gives us two shutdown innings. We take the lead and then Cronin finished it off. I thought he threw the ball pretty well.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on how his pitching staff threw against Louisiana Tech
“I thought he did a really nice job with the at bat if you think about it. He took the first pitch for a strike and then a couple of balls. He hadn’t swung the bat yet. He took another nice fast ball on the inside corner that he didn’t like and made it 2-2. I think it went full and the runners were off and running and he got a pitch he liked and he swung at it. It was a good at bat. He saw six or seven pitches and when you put the ball in play sometimes good things happen and that’s what happened there.” – Dave Van Horn on Trey Harris’ pinch hit double in the seventh inning
“It’s kind of overwhelming. It’s a moment that I’ve always dreamed of, and I finally end up getting that moment.” – Trey Harris on getting his first collegiate RBI
“It was a good start, I just lost a little bit of command in that fourth inning, and left a couple of pitches over the middle of the plate and they got good swings on them, found some holes. Overall it was a good start, I was spotting my fastball really well today inside and outside. I just competed in the strike zone and really just let my defense do the work.” – Isaiah Campbell on his start
Arkansas and Louisiana Tech will be back at Baum-Walker Stadium on Saturday for game two of the series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. and will be on SEC Network+.
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