FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 4 Arkansas overcame an early 3-0 deficit and Razorback relievers wiggled out of some late-inning jams as Arkansas defeated Valparaiso 4-3 on Saturday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
The win improves Arkansas' record to 7-0 on the season, while Valparaiso is now 2-3. The 7-0 start for the Razorbacks is the program's best since the 2006 team opened the year with nine straight wins.
After giving up three runs in the top of the first inning, the Arkansas pitching staff was able to shut out the Crusaders for the rest of the game, giving the Razorback offense time to mount a rally. Arkansas scored single run in the third and fifth and put together the game-winning rally with a two-run sixth.
Sophomore Ryne Stanek earned the win for Arkansas to improve to 2-0 on the season. Stanek allowed three runs, only one of which was earned, and struck out four in six innings of work.
Barrett Astin recorded his first save of the season, striking out one and giving up just one hit in two scoreless innings.
Brandon Moore and Michael Gunn each had a scoreless outing in relief. Moore threw a scoreless 0.2 of an inning, striking out one and allowing one hit. Gunn fanned the only man he faced, getting a strikeout with two outs and a runner on second in the seventh inning.
Kyle Wormington suffered the loss for the Crusaders. Wormington gave up four runs on six hits and struck out two in 5.2 innings. Valpo reliever Ben Mahar threw well out of the bullpen, striking out three and retiring all seven batters he faced.
At the plate, Bo Bigham led the Arkansas offense, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Tim Carver drove in a run for the fifth straight game, recording the eventual game-winning RBI and finishing 1-for-2 at the plate. Jacob Morris added a RBI and two runs scored in his 1-for-2 performance, while Dominic Ficociello and Matt Reynolds each had a hit as well.
Tanner Vavra had a three-hit day for Valparaiso and scored a run, while Chris Manning with 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Mark Johnson added a pair of hits, while John Loeffler and Elliott Martin each had an RBI.
Arkansas looks for its third series sweep of the season on Sunday as it hosts Valparaiso in the final game of the weekend series. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. Junior southpaw Randall Fant (3-5, 3.89 in 2011) is set to make his first appearance of the season for Arkansas, while the Crusaders will counter with senior righty Kevin Wild (0-0, 1.80). Single-game tickets for Sunday's series finale are $10 for reserved seats.