Razorbacks Battle To Series Win Over Trojans
LOS ANGELES – The Arkansas Baseball team came back from a three-run deficit in the middle innings and scored six of its eight runs with two outs Friday night to earn a series victory over USC with an 8-6 win at Dedeaux Field.
Sophomore Casey Martin and junior Jack Kenley led the team, offensively, with two hits each. Kenley led all players with a career-high three RBIs, including the important insurance run that was scored by Christian Franklin in the top of the ninth.
Martin notched his second-straight multi-RBI game as he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a walk. Martin provided one of the biggest hits of the night when he smacked a two-run home run in the fifth inning well over the tall screen beyond the wall at Dedeaux Field. It was his first home run of the year and put Arkansas ahead 5-4, the final lead change of the night.
On the mound, redshirt junior Isaiah Campbell had another strong outing even though the stat sheet may not show it. Campbell went 5.1 innings and allowed six runs with only three being earned. The Razorback defense behind him suffered the error bug in the third inning, which led to four USC runs, but Campbell settled back in over the remainder of his outing, striking out three in the fourth and fifth innings.
Campbell moves to 2-0 with the win and has worked at least five innings with five strikeouts in both of his outings.
Junior closer Matt Cronin also picked up his second save in as many days as he pitched a perfect ninth inning with one strikeout on 11 pitches.
Welcome Back Kevin Kopps
Redshirt junior Kevin Kopps made his first appearance since going through Tommmy John surgery a year ago. Kopps, who hadn’t made an official appearance since the postseason of 2017, was the first man out of the bullpen Friday night after Isaiah Campbell was pulled in the sixth inning. Kopps inherited two runners on base before throwing his first pitch, but went on to throw scoreless seventh and eighth innings to set up the save situation for Matt Cronin. Kopps faced nine batters and gave up three hits on 28 pitches.
Way Out Of Here
Much had been discussed about the West Coast “marine layer” before the Razorbacks traveled to Los Angeles to take on USC. Well-hit balls that would normally go over the fence don’t travel as well at night along the coast, but that didn’t seem to bother Casey Martin Friday night. In the fifth inning with Christian Franklin on second, Martin unloaded a 3-1 pitch for his first home run of the year, completing a three-run Razorback comeback to push Arkansas ahead 5-4. Martin’s home run landed on the other side of the tall screen that sits roughly 20-25 feet beyond the left field fence and was Arkansas’ fifth home run as a team this year.
Kenley Deadly With Two Outs
Infielder Jack Kenley’s first hit of the night started an Arkansas rally in the fourth inning. With USC leading 4-1, Kenley laced a two-run triple down the right field line to make it a one-run game. It was his first hit of the night and first hit of the weekend as Arkansas used that momentum to score four more runs over the fifth and sixth innings and take the lead. Kenley did it again in the ninth inning singling home Curtis Washington, Jr. with two outs to provide the needed insurance run and his third RBI of the game.
“Bottom line, we found a way to come back and win the ballgame tonight. It started off well, but we had a bad defensive inning. We left a lot of runners out there, but we got three or four really big two-out hits. Just proud of the team, fighting back to win. It was really good to see (Isaiah) Campbell come back after giving up a few runs in the third and give us two quality innings that really helped us save our bullpen.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on the series win over USC
“He played great defense and then he got two really big hits, which were both big two-out hits that got us within one in the fourth and in the ninth that doubled our lead. The difference between a two-run lead and a one-run lead going into the bottom of the ninth on the road is huge. It was great to see him swing the bat so well. We’ve seen it in practice and in scrimmages a lot. Now, he’s taken it to the field.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on Jack Kenley’s two-hit, three RBI night
Arkansas and USC will finish its series on Saturday with game three set for 8 p.m. at Dedeaux Field. The game will, once again, be broadcast on PAC-12 Plus.
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