Baxendale’s New Start
Arkansas junior right-handed starter DJ Baxendale and Razorbacks pitching coach Dave Jorn worked on mechanics after Baxendale allowed 17 hits and 12 runs in back-to-back starts.
The work paid off Sunday when Baxendale threw eight shutout innings in an 8-0 Hogs home win against Georgia.
“We moved my arm slot up from being kind of a side-arm guy to a high three-quarter,” Baxendale said. “I felt like that helped me control the fast ball. I was also staying back over the rubber, staying under control, being able to keep a consistent delivery to deliver over the plate.”
Baxendale opened the series finale for Arkansas instead of his usual Friday starting position, a move made following his struggles as the Razorbacks lost two consecutive games with him starting. He struck out seven batters and improved to 6-1 this season.
“I was commanding the fast ball today,” Baxendale said. “That’s the big key for me.”
The appearance was Baxendale’s career-longest outing. His previous longest was six innings Feb. 24 against Valparaiso.
“He kept them off balance and just did a tremendous job,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “It’s good to have him back.”
Bosco provides fireworks
Following a rain delay before Saturday’s game, Arkansas redshirt sophomore right fielder Jimmy Bosco knocked a grand slam over the recently moved-in right-field fence to put the Hogs ahead 5-1 of Georgia in the bottom of the third inning.
“That grand slam gave us a lot of momentum,” freshman infielder Joe Serrano said. “I think we played off that.”
The set up for Bosco’s hit began with a double from senior shortstop Tim Carver down the left field line. Junior infielder Jacob Mahan singled to left field and Carver advanced to third.
Senior third baseman Matt Reynolds walked and sent Mahan to second. Bosco’s hit sent everyone home.
The grand slam helped atone for his second-inning error that led to an unearned Bulldogs run.
“I felt like a little bit of stress was relieved,” Bosco said. “The bigger part of it was that my team was winning after that, and as long as I could contribute and make up (for the error). That’s what mattered to me.”
The Razorbacks scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth after a double to right center from Carver sent Anderson and sophomore catcher Jake Wise to home plate.
Arkansas’ final run came from Serrano after advancing home on Wise’s single through the right side, and the Hogs won the game 8-3.
Bottom of the order steps up
Center fielder Derek Bleeker, left fielder Joe Serrano and designated hitter Brian Anderson became the new Nos. 6, 7 and 9 batters for the Georgia series after the Razorbacks struck out 40 times last weekend on the road against LSU, many of which came from the bottom of the batting order.
The three hitters combined for seven hits and two RBI this weekend against the Bulldogs.
“Those guys, they boosted the end of the order,” Van Horn said. “It had been struggling. Anybody could see it. It was time to make a move. Putting Anderson and Serrano down there in the 7- and 9-hole, it just brought a little life to the lineup.”
Sophomore catcher Jake Wise, batting in the bottom half of the lineup, struck out six times against LSU, but redeemed himself with three hits and two RBIs against Georgia.