FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After trailing by as much as four runs to Missouri State in the early goings Tuesday night, the third-ranked Razorback baseball team scored eight unanswered runs on the Bears and won 11-7 at Baum Stadium for its third win in a row.
The win is Arkansas’ 28th of the year, making it 28-10 overall, while Missouri State has now lost four in a row and falls to 22-11. The Hogs have won eight of their last nine games and have claimed victory in five-straight midweek games.
The four-run comeback Tuesday night was powered by a five-run fifth inning that included long balls from freshmen Heston Kjerstad and Casey Martin. Kjerstad now ties for the team lead with nine home runs on the year, while Martin is just one behind with eight.
Combined this year, the freshman duo of Martin and Kjerstad is hitting .353 with 17 home runs and 69 RBIs. Both of their RBI totals (Kjerstad – 37; Martin – 32) are good for 1-2 on the team.
Tuesday against Missouri State, Martin went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two walks. He’s reached base safely in eight-straight games and now has 13 multi-hit games.
Kjerstad was 3-4 on the night, with four RBIs, tying a season-high. He has at least one hit in 22 of his last 24 games and continues to lead the team with a .373 average.
The Hogs scored 11 runs on 12 hits Tuesday night, the 11th game this year that they’ve plated 10 or more runs, and the 21st game with 10 or more hits. The win also moves the Hogs to 11-1 on the season when scoring 10 or more runs, as well as 11-1 when they score in the first inning.
Eight of the nine Razorback starters recorded at least one hit in the game. After Kjerstad and Martin, sophomore Jordan McFarland turned in a multi-hit game going 2-for-5 with two runs scored. McFarland has at least one hit in eleven of his last 13 games.
Carson Shaddy also extended his hitting streak to eight games, after going 1-for-4 with a double. His hitting streak is the longest active streak on the team and he’s the seventh Razorback with a hitting streak of eight or more games at one point this year.
Freshman Caleb Bolden, who had earned his third-consecutive midweek start, only made it one inning against Missouri State, giving up three earned runs on four hits before giving way to the bullpen. After Barrett Loseke and Evan Lee couldn’t slow down the Bears offense, another freshman in Kole Ramage stepped in.
Ramage struck out two of the five batters he faced after entering the game in the middle of the fourth with a runner on and one out. Ramage went on to hold the Bears hitless for 1.2 innings right as Arkansas had its big fifth inning at the plate, earning him his first win of the year.
After Ramage, junior Jake Reindl picked up his second save of the year, striking out seven over the final four innings. It’s the second-straight good outing for the Fayetteville, Arkansas native. Over those two outings, he has only given up one run in 14.0 innings of work with 17 strikeouts with two walks. His 35 strikeouts are also the third-highest total on the team.
“He has done a really good job, and I just put him there a few games back. We let him hit leadoff all fall, because I see him as a leadoff hitter. He fits the profile anyway with the speed and he has got power, obviously. I think he has done a tremendous job. I mean tonight he, obviously, did a great job. He got a walk, a couple of hits, three or four RBIs, a homerun, and he is just a threat. I like him there.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on Casey Martin leading off in recent games
“It was big for him and it was big for us. The coaches and the players, getting to see him pitch well back to back, so it looks like he’s back.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on Jake Reindl’s last two outings
“I felt pretty comfortable tonight. I saw the ball really well and really stuck to my approach. A lot of the stuff (Carson) Shaddy has been telling me like, to drive through the middle and basically tell myself what kind of player I am before I get into the box. That has really helped, but it kind of shows what type of leader he is on this team.” – Casey Martin on batting leadoff in the last week
“I feel like with the lineup we have, there is never a game we are out of. It was a four-run deficit at one time, but we all are confident that we would be able to scratch some more runs on the board and the game will go on.” – Heston Kjerstad on being down four runs, but not feeling out of it
“Yeah, it’s good. Just, obviously, showing everyone it wasn’t a fluke that I came back. But, I feel like now that is who I am and that is who they should expect when I come out of the pen.” – Jake Reindl on having back-to-back strong outings.
The Razorbacks go on the road this weekend as they head to Starkville, Mississippi to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. First pitch for game one on Friday is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday’s game two will be at 6 p.m., followed by Sunday’s game three at 1 p.m. All games will be televised on SEC Network+.
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