Arkansas baseball smokes Nebraska in an early Texas morning – SECcountry.com
If you stayed up late Saturday night to watch Arkansas baseball, you were sweetly rewarded.
Arkansas put Nebraska on blast in the second game of the Frisco Classic down in Frisco, Texas, 15-5. Unlike previous Razorbacks’ high-scoring efforts, Saturday’s was well-rounded. Arkansas scored runs in six different innings to handle the Cornhuskers all night.
And all morning. The game didn’t end until 12:24 a.m. It was supposed to begin at 7:30 p.m., but because the Arizona-Oklahoma State game before it ran late, the nightcap didn’t start until over an hour after it was scheduled.
Didn’t bother the Arkansas (8-2) bats.
The Razorbacks were down 1-0 after the top of the first inning. They subsequently responded with three runs in the bottom half. When Nebraska scored another in the second, Arkansas plated three more in the third. Then one in the fourth. Then four in the fifth. Two more in the sixth. For good measure, a final two came in the seventh.
Most of the damage came from Arkansas’ veterans.
Carson Shaddy plated two in the first with a two-run double. Another two-run double in the third followed and a bases-loaded walk in the fourth scored Luke Bonfield.
Bonfield didn’t mess around, either. He went 3 for 4 with a walk, four runs and a bases-loaded single in the sixth.
Grant Koch had the biggest day. His grand slam in the fourth inning made the score 11-2. The sophomore catcher finished 2 for 3 with two walks, four RBIs and three runs. He leads Arkansas full-timers with a .372 average, four home runs, 16 RBIs and 14 runs on the year.
Things were made easy for starter Trevor Stephan. The junior-college transfer started his third straight Saturday game and it was his sharpest so far. Stephan struck out eight and allowed just three Nebraska hits in his six innings of work.
Freshman Jaxon Williams pinch ran for Shaddy in the sixth and continued his sizzling start. He scored on fellow freshman Jordan McFarland’s single that inning. On Williams’ first at-bat, in the seventh, he plated a run himself with an RBI triple. Williams is 6 for 12 with 11 RBIs this season.
Every Arkansas position player on the roster played, including catcher Alex Gosser who played for the first time after injuring his hand during scrimmages before the season began. Pitchers Jacob Kostyshock and Matt Cronin also made their Arkansas debuts.
Nebraska made the final score getting three runs off Kostyshock in the eighth.
The Razorbacks are 1-1 in the Frisco Classic. They play Oklahoma State to close the weekend Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Grading the Hogs
The walks were a little high (nine). But Arkansas pitchers Stephan, Weston Rogers, Jacob Kostyshock, Angus Denton and Matt Cronin gave up just five Cornhuskers hits overall. Kostyshock gave up three of the walks and two of the hits before being pulled for Denton with two outs in the eighth.
This was the best hitting game of the season for Arkansas. They’d scored more runs before. They’d had more hits before. But everything was balanced against Nebraska. Plus, the Cornhuskers are the second-best (behind Arizona) team Arkansas has played this year. Every starter reached base but one – Chad Spanberger.
The Big Stick + The Arm
The junior is looking more and more like a permanent option as a weekend starter. His first inning started poorly when he let Nebraska load the bases with no outs. Stephan induced a foul out to third, a sacrifice fly to center and a strikeout swinging to escape the jam with just one run of damage against. Nebraska had just two more hits on him the rest of the way.
Honors could go to Koch, but Shaddy was perfect at the plate before leaving. The junior infielder started at second base and went 3 for 3, all three doubles, five RBIs and a walk. Fittingly, Shaddy is now hitting .333 on the season.
What’s next for Arkansas?
The Razorbacks close their Frisco series with a game against rival Oklahoma State. The two split their games last year. The Cowboys won 5-4 in Stillwater and Arkansas won 7-6 at Baum Stadium.