FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 25 Arkansas baseball team (5-0) broke a 3-3
tie with a five-run, two-out rally in the bottom of the eighth inning
and defeated Eastern Illinois (1-5) 8-3 Saturday in front of a
season-high crowd of 5,286 at Baum Stadium.
Junior left-handed pitcher Michael Gunn (1-0) earned the win after recording the final four outs on just nine pitches. Fellow junior Chris Oliver
started the game and threw 6.0 shutout innings, allowing just four hits
and two walks while striking out four, and was replaced after six
innings with Arkansas holding a 2-0 lead. Sophomore Colin Poché took the ball and added three strikeouts in 1.1 innings of work with no hits allowed.
Sophomore Michael Bernal
led the way offensively for the Razorbacks. The El Paso, Texas, native
was 3-for-3, including a two-out triple to right field that scored Jake Wise
for the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth. Bernal's hit extended
the inning that was punctuated with a three-run home run to left field
by preseason All-American Brian Anderson to cap the five-run eighth. Anderson and junior Joe Serrano
each recorded two hits and scored one run during the game, and Serrano
added two RBI, giving the Razorbacks five RBI from their No. 2 and 3
hitters in the batting order.
Arkansas and Eastern Illinois wrap up their three-game series Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch. For tickets, click here.
For more information on Arkansas baseball, follow @RazorbackBSB on Twitter.
Coach Van Horn Quotes
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on wind helping the triple in the 8th inning)
– "That wind killed many of our swings. Ask (1B-Eric) Fisher, he
probably would have four home runs (this season) if it wasn't for that
wind. It was good to see the wind help us. There was some back spin on
the hit and once it stopped (the right fielder) thought he had it under
control and we were screaming that he was going to struggle and sure
enough it got blown back. Obviously that was big for us. We started that
inning with two outs and (C) Jake (Wise) got a base hit in the hole, we
got the triple, and it just kind of snowballed on them."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on LHP-Michael Gunn's performance at the end of the game)
– "We have confidence in Gunn. He is an experienced guy. We have put
him out there a couple of times now and he has gotten the job done. It
was a touchy situation and he came in and got the out (to end the eighth
inning), then shut them down pretty quick in the ninth inning."
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn (on 3B-Michael Bernal)
– "He did a great job. He had two line drives up the middle, got hit by
a pitch, and the ball he hit the worst was a triple. He made a couple
of nice plays in the field too. He had a great game."
• Michael Bernal is the first Razorback to score three runs in a game since Sam Bates at Tennessee on May 19, 2012.
• Michael Bernal became the second Razorback with a three-hit game this season, joining preseason All-American Brian Anderson, who had three hits in the season opener Feb. 14 vs. Appalachian State.
• Brian Anderson's
three-run home run in the eighth inning was the Razorbacks' fourth this
season and Anderson's first since May 11, 2013, vs. Tennessee.
• Chris Oliver
registered a career-long outing for the second time this season with
his 6.0 innings of work on the mound. Oliver's previous career high for
innings pitched was 5.0 recorded last weekend in a 7-6 win vs.
• Michael Gunn earned the third win of his career and first since March 9, 2013, vs. San Diego State.
• Arkansas' starting
pitchers have allowed three earned runs in 25.2 innings pitched so far
this season, an earned-run average of 1.05. Chris Oliver threw 6.0 shutout innings Saturday to lower his season ERA to 0.82.
• The Razorbacks' five runs
in the eighth inning are the most they have scored in one inning this
season. The last time Arkansas scored at least five runs in one inning
was June 2, 2013, in the seventh inning of a 12-3 win vs. Bryant in the
NCAA Manhattan Regional. The last time Arkansas scored five runs in the
eighth inning or later was March 25, 2012 in the 11th inning of an 8-5
win at Mississippi State.
• Arkansas was hit by three
pitches in Saturday's game, extending the Razorbacks' SEC-leading total
to 18 through the first five games this season with six coming in the
first two games of this series. Arkansas was hit by a pitch 36 times in
61 games last season.
• Arkansas improved to 20-1 all-time against Eastern Illinois. The Razorbacks have won 14 in a row against the Panthers.