Razorbacks Baseball Opens Series With 20-2 win

Courtesy University of Arkansas Athletics Department

FAYETTEVILLE – Led by a season high 20 runs and a school record 19 walks, the 15th-ranked Razorbacks stormed past Alabama A&M on Tuesday night at Baum Stadium for a 20-2 victory. The Razorbacks improved to 12-5 with the win, while the Bulldogs dropped to 2-16.

The Razorbacks had numerous offensive stars in the outburst. Freshman Isaac Hellbusch was the star in the second start of his collegiate career. Hellbusch laced his first career home run over the left field wall, and finished the day with two hits and a career high five RBI.

Arkansas had six players with multi-hit games, and five who recorded multiple RBI. Jordan Farris and Willie Schwanke each had three hits, both career highs, while Brian Anderson had a career high four RBI. Every Razorback starter drew a walk, including six with multiple walks, led by Jacob Mahan with four and three apiece by Jean Ramirez and Jacob Morris. Tyler Spoon reached base twice on walks, and had three RBI, but saw a season-opening 16 game hitting streak come to an end.

Arkansas trailed early in the game, as the Bulldogs scored first to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning and forced the Razorbacks to go to their bullpen early in the game. After starter Colin Poché departed, the UA relief corps was stellar, allowing just one hit in 7.2 innings, recording 12 strikeouts.

In the third inning, the Razorbacks tied the game when Spoon hit a sacrifice fly. It was the fourth inning where the Arkansas bats really heated up, breaking out for seven runs. After a Schwanke single on the first pitch of the inning, Hellbusch hit the next delivery over the left field wall for a two-run home run, which put the Razorbacks up for good. The Razorbacks batted around, with Hellbusch driving in two more runs on a single to left, becoming the first Razorback with two hits in one inning since Matt Reynolds did it vs. Villanova on Feb. 19, 2012. In the fourth inning alone, Hellbusch was 2-2 with four RBI, and finished with a career high five RBI. Anderson had an RBI single, and Schwanke plated a run on a walk in the inning.

The Razorbacks tallied two runs in the fifth, on a sacrifice fly by Dominic Ficociello and a single by Anderson. They added one more in the sixth, carrying an 11-1 lead in the seventh inning.

In that frame Arkansas batted around again, sending 14 batters to the plate, and scoring nine runs on three hits and seven walks, including five walks that brought in a Razorback runner. After two RBI walks opened the scoring, Jacob Mahan plated one with a single. Ficociello, Anderson, and Hellbusch all drew a bases loaded walk, with Spoon driving in one on a fielder’s choice. The inning was capped by a two-run double by Farris to conclude the Arkansas scoring.

Razorback pitching held the Bulldogs to just four hits, and only one in the final seven innings. Poché started for the Razorbacks, throwing 1.2 innings and allowing one run on three hits. Brandon Moore relieved him, striking out four in two perfect innings of work. Thomas Altimont got his first win as a Razorback, hurling 2.1 innings and allowing just one hit and one run. Freshman Landon Simpson pitched the final three frames, striking out five and earning the first save of his collegiate career. The 14 strikeouts were a season high for the Razorbacks.

Arkansas scored their most runs since plating 32 against Saint Louis on April 7, 2010. They finished with 14 hits, a season high 20 RBI, and the all-time record 19 walks.

The series will conclude on Wednesday with a 3:05 p.m. start. Arkansas will start sophomore right-hander Chris Oliver (0-0, 0.00) in the contest, while Alabama A&M will start right hander Allen Belue (0-1, 5.73).


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