Solid production at the plate lifts Arkansas over Grand Canyon

·3 min read

After a week away from competition, the Arkansas Razorbacks seemed to re-discover their groove at the plate, which lifted them to a much-needed opening-day win.

Arkansas jumped ahead early, and coasted the rest of the way in their regional-opener against Grand Canyon, defeating the Antelopes, 7-1 at O’Brate Stadium on the campus of Oklahoma State University.

Arkansas and Grand Canyon nearly matched each other in the hit column, with the Razorbacks holding a 9-8 advantage. But Arkansas got more production from their hits. The Razorbacks scored five runs over the first two innings on four hits to gain a comfortable advantage, while limiting Grand Canyon, who had seven players batting at .300 or better, to just one run.

The Razorbacks needed a great game to erase their recent struggles and a four-game losing skid. They got the hot start that they desperately needed in the bottom of the 1st inning on a solo moon shot by Cayden Wallace to give Arkansas the 1-0 lead.

Arkansas extended their lead to 5-0 by the end of the 2nd inning, headlined by a two-RBI single by Michael Turner. With two runs across already, and the bases loaded, Turner sent a grounder up the middle to score Braydon Webb and Brady Slavens to give Arkansas the five-run cushion.

The Antelopes top hitter put his team on the board in the top of the 4th inning. GCU’s Tayler Aguliar cut the Arkansas lead to 5-1 by crushing his 21st home run of the season to right field.

But, as the old saying goes, “the best teams find ways to respond.” That is exactly what Arkansas did in the bottom half of the inning. With two outs in the inning, Wallace drilled his second home run of the game into the Arkansas bullpen to give the Razorbacks the 6-1 advantage.

The final run of the game came in the bottom of the 6th inning on a single by Turner to score Slavens, which was the second time that the duo combined to give Arkansas a run.

Turner and Wallace combined to plate six runs for Arkansas on five hits for Arkansas. Webb, Chris Lanzilli, Peyton Stovall, and Jalen Battles also collected hits for the Razorbacks.

The biggest takeaway from the game, was that Arkansas used only two pitchers in the game, which boosts their options for later games in the regional. Connor Noland allowed just six hits and one earned run in 7.0 innings, and Kole Ramage shut the door by tossing three innings of shutout baseball, grabbing three strikeouts in the meantime.

Next up for Arkansas will be the winner of the Oklahoma State-Missouri State game. The two teams will meet Saturday evening at 6 p.m. CDT.

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