Baseball Posts 12-Run Win at Arkansas to Even Series
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Kentucky sent 56 hitters to the plate and collected a season-high 16 runs, posting the largest win over Arkansas in the history of the series with a 16-4 result -- the second biggest loss for the Razorbacks in historic Baum Stadium -- in front of 9,874 on Saturday night.
Kentucky (19-14, 5-8 Southeastern Conference) charted a strong offensive showing to even the series on Saturday, after the Razorbacks opened the set with a 5-3 win on Friday night. UK jumped out to a 12-0 lead after five innings behind a three-run frame in the first, a seven-run inning in the third and two runs in the fifth.
The Wildcats collected a season-high 16 runs on 15 hits, sending 56 hitters to the plate, drawing 11 walks and getting plunked by six pitches, including three from shortstop Connor Heady. Kentucky got a career-high five RBI game from junior leftfielder Ka'ai Tom, who was 3-for-5 with his 10th double of the year.
UK also got the third homer of the year from second baseman JaVon Shelby, an opposite-field poke out to rightfield. Shelby finished 2-for-3 with a career-high three walks. UK also got three hits from freshman first baseman Evan White and a two-hit game from Dorian Hairston and Kyle Barrett, with Barrett ripping his second triple of the year.
Kentucky also got hits from Heady, Storm Wilson and Zach Arnold, with Arnold setting a new career high with three RBI. Heady finished 1-for-1 but reached base safely on all six trips to the plate, adding two walks with his three HBP.
The Wildcats got a career-long eight innings out of junior righty Dustin Beggs (4-2), who allowed five hits and one earned run, walking one and striking out six. UK used freshman Zach Pop to work the ninth inning, with the Canadian surrendering a run on two hits and a walk.
The win was the largest for Kentucky in its series with Arkansas, eclipsing a 10-run win in 1998. UK's 12-run win at Arkansas was the largest loss for the Backs at Baum Stadium since 2000, just shy of a 16-3 loss to Long Beach State in 2000 the record.
UK will be seeking its second consecutive series win at Arkansas, with UK's last series win at Arkansas coming when the Wildcats swept a twinbill, the only doubleheader sweep allowed by the Razorbacks in Bam Stadium history. UK has now won 10 all-time games at Arkansas, with its series wins coming in 2000 and 2012.
Arkansas (19-16, 6-8 SEC) starter Dominic Taccolini (5-3) worked 2.2 innings, allowing six hits and eight runs, walking four and striking out three. Sidearm senior righty Jacob Stone took over, working 2.1 innings, allowing five hits and four runs, walking two and striking out two. Arkansas used Jonah Patten, Parker Sanburn, Cannon Chadwich and Kyle Pate in relief.
The series will conclude on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET at Baum Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network+ and WatchESPN. The game will also be on the UK Radio Network, available in Central Kentucky on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
UK got on the board at its first chance, as Barrett led off with a four-pitch walk and White laid down a perfect bunt single on the third-base line. Tom then smashed a long single off the wall in right-center, scoring Barrett. Shelby followed with a full-count walk to reload the bases and Hairston fought off a two-strike offering to rightfield to score White. After a strikeout of Bernal, Wilson lined a sac fly to leftfield, scoring Tom, but Shelby was tagged out trying to attempt to take third with two outs to end the inning.
The Wildcats then chased Taccolini with seven runs in the top of the third inning to stretch their lead to 10-0. After a groundout opened the inning, Shelby singled to leftfield, Hairston was hit by a pitch and Bernal drew an eight-pitch walk to load the bases. After a shallow fly out for the second out, Arnold delivered a single up the middle, scoring two, with the throw escaping third base to allow a third run to score. Heady then drew a four-pitch walk to end the outing for Taccolini and Barrett greated Stone with a single to rightfield, scoring Arnold. After White beat out an infield single, Tom smashed a bases-clearing double off the wall in centerfield, giving UK a 10-run lead.
UK added two runs in the fifth inning, as Heady led off with a hit by pitch, scoring on Barrett's triple down the rightfield line. Tom then scored Barrett with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Arkansas got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning, getting a leadoff hit batter and a two-out error to make it a 12-run game.
UK added three runs in the seventh, as Shelby belted a line-drive, two-run homer over the opposite-field fence, scoring Tom, who singled with one out. A Barrett sac fly scored the third run, with Hairston touching the plate.
Arkansas got two runs in the eighth and a run in the ninth for the final margin.