SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – It took a few innings for the offense to get going, but the eighth-ranked Arkansas baseball team was able to score eight unanswered runs over the final four innings Tuesday night to beat Missouri State, 8-2, at Hammons Field.
Arkansas (21-4, 5-1 SEC) has beaten Missouri State (5-17, 0-0 MVC) four of the last six times dating back to the 2017 season and finish the six-game road trip with a 4-2 record. In all four of the victories, the Hogs scored eight or more runs and held opponents to four or less. Arkansas is now 16-3 in non-conference games and averaging 8.2 runs per game.
Eight different Razorbacks found the hit column with Dominic Fletcher and Jack Kenley both turning in two-hit performances. Fletcher went 2-for-4 extending his hit streak to six games and getting the RBI single in the seventh Tuesday night. Kenley picked up his 19thRBI of the year on a single in the ninth to give Arkansas its final tally of the game.
The biggest hits of the night came off the bat of redshirt freshman Jacob Nesbit and pinch hitter Trey Harris in the sixth inning. With the Hogs trailing 2-0 in what turned out to be a pitchers’ duel for the first half of the game, Nesbit extended his team-best hitting streak to 15 games with a bases-loaded single that tied the game. It was Nesbit’s only hit of the night, but his sixth multi-RBI game this season.
Then, Harris was called off the bench and provided what ended up being the game-winning run on a single to left-center, his eighth hit of the year and fifth RBI. Harris is now 3-for-3 in pinch-hit situations this year and all three hits have driven in at least one run.
Wicklander Perfect In First Two Innings
Freshman Patrick Wicklander looked very good in his fifth start of the year. Working only the first two innings, Wicklander retired six in a row and struck out the final five batters he faced. It’s only the third time this season that he’s struck out five or more batters in an outing and was his shortest start this season. Wicklander has struck out 24 over his last 16 innings while giving up just seven hits.
Kjerstad Plays Pepper With Right Field Batting Cages
Sophomore Heston Kjerstad continued to swing one of the hottest bats in the Arkansas lineup when he corked his fifth home run of the year off the Springfield Cardinals batting cages beyond the right-field wall in the top of the ninth inning. The solo shot extended the Hogs’ lead to 7-2 at the time before Jack Kenley’s RBI single later in the inning. Kjerstad has seven hits over his last four games with two home runs and five RBIs.
“I think we had some really quality at-bats. We laid off some borderline pitches and that gave us a chance to start running a little bit. We took our walks and didn’t go out of the zone too much. (Dominic) Fletcher went the other way, Goodheart stayed in there on a curveball. The pitch before he didn’t look very good on the curveball. He learned something and he got enough of the next one to get it though the hole and we scored a couple more. We just did a good job being patient at the plate.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on his offense’s response to Missouri State’s starter
“We’ve played pretty well on the road. We’ve played the same on the road as we have at home. We’ve taken advantage of some things. We haven’t really shot ourselves in the foot. We’ve played pretty steady, six games in a row on the road. We won four of them against some pretty good teams. We’re looking forward to getting back into conference.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on his team’s success on the road
“I was just sitting on a fastball, seeing if he was going to give me something to work with and he did. I actually took the first fastball I saw and then I didn’t miss the next one I saw.” – Jacob Nesbit on his game-tying hit in the sixth inning
It’s a great confidence booster going into this weekend playing against Ole Miss. Everything was working today. They’re (Missouri State) a great team, great lineup over there.” – Patrick Wicklander on his start
Arkansas returns home for its next conference series as it welcomes Ole Miss to Baum-Walker Stadium for a three-game series. The series will start on Friday at 8 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.
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