Arkansas Baseball Breaks out Brooms at Home Again

Redshirt junior Isaiah Campbell delivers a pitch against Stony Brook March 1, en route to a career high 13 strikeouts.

The Razorbacks swept Stony Brook University this weekend behind an incredible performance on the mound from redshirt junior Isaiah Campbell, as well as strong hitting displays from sophomore outfielder Heston Kjerstad and junior infielder Jack Kenley.

The first game of the Friday double-header was a pitchers’ duel, with no runs scored for either team until the bottom of the fifth when redshirt freshman infielder Jacob Nesbit knocked in junior outfielder Dominic Fletcher on a fielder’s choice. Two more runs scored in the next inning as redshirt senior Trevor Ezell tripled in a run, then scored on a wild pitch. Stony Brook managed to avoid the shutout with an eighth-inning solo home run, but got nothing more as the Hogs won the first contest 3-1.

Campbell made his third start Friday and racked up a career-high 13 strikeouts, five more than his previous best in a dominant outing. He threw seven innings of shutout baseball and gave up only three hits in his longest start of the year, bringing his record to 3-0. Junior southpaw Matt Cronin got himself in trouble in the ninth but escaped a bases-loaded jam and earned his third save of the season.

The second Friday game was back and forth throughout. Stony Brook jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but the Hogs responded in the bottom of the second as Fletcher scored on a wild pitch and Nesbit knocked in junior infielder Jack Kenley to level the scoring. The Hogs took the lead at 3-2 in the third when Kjerstad drove in sophomore shortstop Casey Martin with a base hit. The Sea Wolves answered in the next inning, tying the score at 3. Kjerstad came through for the Hogs again in the fifth inning as he hit a leadoff double and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Fletcher. The Razorbacks were able to hold on to the one-run lead for the rest of the game and come away with a 4-3 victory.

Redshirt junior Cody Scroggins threw 3.1 innings in his second career start, giving up three runs on five hits. Sophomore Kole Ramage followed Scroggins and threw 3.2 shutout innings out of the pen, allowing only two hits in his third win of the season. Junior Jacob Kostyshock was also sharp as he threw two innings of one-hit ball and collected his first save of the year.

The final game of the weekend was quite the opposite of the other two, as the Hogs would score 15 runs in a lopsided win for the home team. Stony Brook got out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Hogs responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning and never looked back. The Razorbacks scored a combined 10 runs in the middle innings to bring their lead to 14-3 after the sixth. The Sea Wolves scored four runs in the top of the ninth, but Arkansas’ lead proved insurmountable as they completed the sweep, beating the Sea Wolves 15-7.

The Hogs’ offensive power was on full display Saturday, with four of their 15 hits leaving the yard. Kenley had two of the Hogs’ four homers and posted a career-high five RBIs. True freshman outfielder Christian Franklin and Ezell also hit home runs, and each had three RBIs.

The Hogs’ next game is the first of a two-game home series, starting at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Baum-Walker Stadium against the University of Charlotte 49ers. It will be televised on SECNetwork+.

 

Parker Tillson is in his second year as a sports reporter for The Arkansas Traveler.

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