Caleb Bolden pitched six strong innings as the Razorbacks bounced back from a 13-6 series opening drubbing to take game two 15-2 from South Alabama Saturday afternoon at Baum Walker Stadium. Bolden held the Jaguars to four hits with six strikeouts while giving up his first two earned runs of the seasons. Freshman Will McEntire tossed two scoreless innings of relief in his debut as a Razorback.
The Jaguars opened up with back-to-back singles off Caleb Bolden and had runners on first and third when Robert Moore dropped a perfect throw from Casey Opitz on a steal attempt at second. South Alabama catcher Reid Powers then delivered an RBI sacrifice to third, the first run Bolden had given up this season and the visitors led 1-0. But Bolden limited the damage by retiring the next three batters.
Arkansas opened the bottom of the first with three straight singles. Matt Goodheart drove in Christian Franklin to tie the game at one. But with Heston Kjerstad on second and Goodheart on first Casey Martin’s shot to right was held up by the wind and Kjerstad was thrown out trying to move to third. Moore then struck out to end what had started as a big inning.
However, the Jags failed to score in the 2nd and in the bottom of the inning Arkansas took lead. A hit batter, a single and a walk loaded the bases. Franklin was plunked with the bases loaded and the Hogs moved in front 2-1. Goodheart then doubled to center to make it 4-1.
Bolden set South Alabama down in order in the 3rd. Moore walked to lead off Arkansas half of the inning and the Jags made a pitching change. Moore stole second, went to third on a single by Optiz and came home on a bunt single by Jacob Nesbit for a 5-1 lead.
Bolden walked the leadoff batter in the fourth, retired two straight and then issued another walk. But he got out of the inning by striking out DH Alden Davis with runners on first and second. Kjerstad led off the bottom of the fourth with a walk. He stole second but was unable to advance.
Bolden issued a one-out walk in the 5th but the Jags could not advance the runner. Braydon Webb walked to start Arkansas half of the fifth. He stole second and made it 6-0 on the single to right by Opitz. The Hogs then loaded the bases with one out and Kjerstad delivered a two-RBI single to make it 8-1 Hogs. Arkansas loaded the bases again with two outs for Moore and he stroked a two-run single up the middle as the score zoomed to 10-1 in the five-run 5th.
South Alabama opened the 6th with pair of base hits off Bolden. With runners on first and third routine double play limited the damage but a run scored on the sacrifice and it was 10-2. But Arkansas got that run back and added one more for a 12-2 lead after six.
McEntire replaced Bolden in the 7th and the freshman from Bryant set the Jags down on ten pitches, nine of them strikes. In the 8th he again retired the visitors in order before giving way to Blake Adams in the 9th.
Arkansas continued to pad its lead in the bottom of the 8th. A two-run home run by Curtis Washington and an RBI single by Martin made it 15-2. In the 9th Adams closed the game out on a strikeout and a pair of ground outs as the Hogs snapped a five-game losing streak and moved to 8-5 on the season.
Hog batters pounded out 18 hits in the game. Bolden, McEntire and Adams combined for 11 strikeouts.