Razorbacks Strike Early To Beat Rebels In Series Opener
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The duo of junior Dominic Fletcher and sophomore Matt Goodheart combined for five of Arkansas’ eight hits Friday night as the eighth-ranked Razorback baseball team held off a final Ole Miss surge in the late innings to win the series opener, 5-3, at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Arkansas (22-4, 6-1 SEC) scored four runs off Ole Miss starter Will Ethridge before the fourth inning and seemed to have its offense clicking early. However, once the Rebels (18-9, 3-4 SEC) went to the bullpen and brought in Houston Roth, the Razorback offense went silent, getting only three runners on base, one by way of a hit, in the final three innings.
Ole Miss got runners into scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings, but closer Matt Cronin got the five-out save, his seventh save of the year, picking up three strikeouts in the process. Cronin did allow his first run of the season when he gave up a solo home run to Cooper Johnson in the top of the ninth. It broke a streak of 12 scoreless innings he had so far this season.
Offensively, Arkansas got multi-hit performances from Fletcher and Goodheart, who combined to go 5-for-7 (.714) with two doubles from Fletcher. Goodheart came away with the three-RBI night and both of his hits came after Fletcher doubles in the first and fifth innings. The three RBIs were a career-high for Goodheart, while the two doubles for Fletcher tied a career-high.
Fletcher continues to lead the team with 13 doubles on the year, which is good for a tie for the conference lead. The junior has 14 hits in his last seven games with five multi-hit games and eight RBIs.
Campbell Goes Seven Strong Again
Starting pitcher Isaiah Campbell may not have thought he had his best stuff Friday night, but it was still good enough to hold a good Ole Miss offense to only two runs on four hits over seven innings, his fifth-straight start of six or more innings. Campbell still struck out five and only walked two on 95 pitches and moved to 6-0 on the year. He’s tied with three other pitchers for the league lead in wins and still has the fifth-most strikeouts with 56.
Nesbit’s Hit Streak Comes To A Close, But Reached Base Streak Continues On
Coming into Friday’s game, Jacob Nesbit had, arguably, Arkansas’ hottest bat as he was on a 15-game hitting streak and 22-game reached base streak. However, the hit streak came to an end as Nesbit went 0-for-3 in the game with one walk. The streak is the longest by an Arkansas player since Tyler Spoon had a 16-game hitting streak in 2013. Fortunately, with the walk, Nesbit’s reached base streak continues on to 23 games.
Give credit to Isaiah (Campbell) for battling through some innings. I don’t think he had his best stuff and I don’t think (Will) Ethridge did either. I think both teams, offensively, early in the game fought pretty good. I thought we did a nice job of getting Ethridge’s pitch count up and fouling off a lot of pitches. We got a couple of big hits that gave us a little bit of a lead. It was good to see Isaiah work out of that jam in the fourth. They had a run in and a runner at second and third, I think, with one out or no outs and he only gave up another run. He still had a two-run lead. It was good we found a way to score that run in the fifth on the two-out double. And then the big single by (Matt) Goodheart.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on the 5-3 win over Ole Miss
“I thought he did a great job. The eighth inning, we felt like that was the save. He needed to get through the eighth. If he got us through the eighth and struggled a little in the ninth, we could go to another guy. But we felt like the game was on the line in the eighth, so we felt like let’s just bring him in and we did and he did a great job..” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on bringing in Matt Cronin in the eighth inning
“He can get himself out of jams and a lot times. If they scored two tonight, they scored four last year. He hasn’t really given up that big inning this year. He’s shown that he can minimize the damage, so to speak, but it’s been because he can really locate his pitches. He doesn’t walk very many, tonight he had two walks and on the year he’s had three or four? In 50-something innings coming into tonight and one walk every 10 innings or so. He probably more counts tonight that were 2-2 or 3-2, so give Ole Miss credit, they do a good job. They battle they don’t strike out a whole lot.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on the biggest difference in Isaiah Campbell last year to this year
I definitely had to compete out there. Ole Miss has a really, really tough lineup. Their experience, top to bottom, is one of the best we’ll face all year. I had to battle some fastball command issues, but I really had the slider working right. and just really mixed my pitches well and kept them off balance all night.” – Isaiah Campbell on his outing against Ole Miss
“We have all the confidence in the world in our bullpen. If we have a lead in the eighth or ninth inning just with all of our bullpen guys, we expect to win. It’s tough to beat our bullpen. Hopefully, they kept going with the confidence we have right now.” – Isaiah Campbell on the bullpen holding late leads
Arkansas and Ole Miss return to the field on Saturday with game two of the three-game series starting at 3 p.m. at Baum-Walker Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
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