The Arkansas baseball team capped off a two-game sweep with a 10-3 victory against the Little Rock Trojans on Wednesday.
The Razorbacks got the offense going early again. Junior first baseman Brady Slavens launched a three-run home run to dead center before the Trojans could record an out.
Slavens’ dinger was his seventh of the year, tying him with junior center fielder Christian Franklin and freshman right fielder Cayden Wallace.
“That ball was hit extremely hard,” head coach Dave Van Horn said. “Obviously, the wind helped it get out of the park. He squared it up really good. That was a big swing for us, got us three quick runs.”
Junior designated hitter Charlie Welch added a solo shot later in the frame to give Arkansas a 4-0 first-inning lead.
Junior starting pitcher Caleb Bolden recuperated from a dreadful performance against Central Arkansas and threw four shutout innings with four strikeouts.
Bolden worked around a pair of two-out singles in the second to keep Little Rock off the board.
To lead off the second inning, junior shortstop Jalen Battles popped the ball up, fell over and still ended up with a single as the ball fell between four Trojan defenders in shallow left field.
Little Rock almost had another miscue in the inning, as the second baseman Jorden Hussein and right fielder Kenny Rodriguez bumped into each other with runners on the corners and two outs. The second baseman was able to hold onto the ball to end the inning, however.
The Trojans were able to put two runners on base in the third inning, but a mental error let Arkansas off the hook. With only one out, the batter flied out to center field, but the runner on second took off on contact as if there were two outs and Franklin doubled him off.
Bolden retired the leadoff man in the fourth inning with a behind-the-back stop and an easy toss to Slavens at first. He worked around a pair of baserunners by striking out the last two hitters of the inning following a mound visit.
“I just thought he got a little bit out of rhythm,” Van Horn said. “I think a little frustration was setting in, maybe just needed a timeout. (He) just needed to relax, start over, catch his breath and attack instead of nibbling. Make them earn it, we’ve got the lead. Let’s just go at them and I think that’s what he did.”
Sophomore second baseman Robert Moore hit a moonshot to right field in the fourth inning to put the Hogs up by five.
Redshirt freshman Evan Gray came in to pitch the fifth inning. The first two hitters reached base and scored on him, to bring Little Rock within three runs at 5-2. Junior pitcher Elijah Trest went 1-2-3 in the sixth, including two strikeouts.
In the bottom of the inning, Battles reached on an error by the pitcher and scored after freshman catcher Dylan Leach hit a triple into the left-center gap. Leach scored on a wild pitch moments later.
The Trojans added a run on a solo home run by third baseman Nathan Lyons, to make it a 7-3 game.
Junior third baseman Cullen Smith and Battles both drew walks to start the eighth. Moore brought Smith home with a single, and Slavens knocked in Battles and Moore with a two-run single later in the inning.
Slavens finished the game with five RBIs, and Moore went 3-4 with a walk, two RBIs and three runs scored.
“(Slavens) had a good day for us,” Van Horn said. “That’s what we need those guys to do. When there’s runners on base, find a way to get at least one in.”
Freshman pitcher Gabriel Starks hurled a shutout eighth and freshman Heston Tole pitched a perfect ninth inning on seven pitches to end the game.
The Hogs will head to Oxford, Mississippi, to take on the No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels at 6 p.m. Friday, April 9. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.