Freshmen deliver for Razorbacks

Published: Saturday, February 23, 2013
Brandon Moore signed with the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Brandon Moore signed with the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.

— Newcomers continue to step up big for Arkansas’ baseball team.

Freshmen Tyler Spoon and Jordan Farris each had key two-out, three-run hits and helped the Razorbacks pull away from Evansville in a 10-4 victory Friday at Baum Stadium.

Arkansas (5-1) led 4-2 when Spoon hit a three-run single in the sixth. After Evansville (1-3) pulled within 7-4, Farris hit a three-run home run in the seventh.

“That’s how you get over the hump and pull away,” Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. “It was a tight game, and we got the big hits.”

The Razorbacks also got another big relief performance.

Dave Van Horn - Evansville Postgame

Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn recaps the Razorbacks' 10-4 win over Evansville on Friday at Baum Stadium. (By Matt Jones)
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Junior right-hander Brandon Moore relieved a struggling Ryne Stanek in the fourth and picked up the victory. Stanek gave up two runs in the second, had thrown 50 pitches after two innings and left the game after throwing 76 pitches.

Moore (1-0) came in and worked 3 2/3 innings, giving up 1 earned run and 4 hits while striking out 2 with no walks.

“I thought Brandon came in and did a tremendous job of slowing the game down,” Van Horn said. “Ryne was just wild. He threw too many pitches. … It was just not a good outing on his part. We brought in a different type of pitcher in Brandon, someone who has consistently thrown strikes, and he did a great job for us.”

It was the second consecutive start with a large number of pitches for Stanek. The junior right-hander worked four innings and threw 66 pitches in the season-opener against Western Illinois.

“It’s the same story for the third year in a row,” Van Horn said of Stanek. “He’s a slow starter and I don’t know what else to say. At the end of the season the last two years, I’d match him against anyone in the country. I know he’ll be fine. He’s frustrated. Hopefully he’ll have a great start next week.”

Arkansas outhit the Purple Aces 11-10, including a 3-for-4 effort by Jake Wise. The junior catcher also had three RBI. His big at-bat was in the second inning, when he hit a two-run home run into the left-field bullpen to tie the game after Evansville had taken a two-run lead.

“I was able to get some pitches elevated over the plate and was able to capitalize,” Wise said. “It was good to get the swing going a bit.”

Evansville’s early lead could have been more, but Stanek picked off lead off hitter Kevin Kaczmarski at second base in the first inning. It was the second out of the inning and came after the Purple Aces had their first two hitters reach base.

“That pick off changed the game,” Van Horn said. “Stanek was struggling, and we were able to get out of the first without any problems.”

Evansville got to Stanek with two runs on three hits in the second and added two runs off Moore in the seventh.

Arkansas, meanwhile, tied the game on Wise’s home run in the second and took the lead for good in a two-run fourth off singles by Eric Fisher, Wise and Brett McAfee and an Evansville error.

Spoon’s base-clearing single to left pushed Arkansas’ lead to 7-2 before Farris put the finishing touches on the Razorbacks’ big offensive day with the three-run home run in the seventh.

“It felt good to get that home run and get the jitters out,” said Farris, who’s from Ventura, Calif.

Kaczmarski, Chris Pearson and Michael Eckstein each went 2 for 4 for Evansville. Kyle Freeland (1-1) took the loss for the Purple Aces. He gave up 4 runs and 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 5.

“They can pitch and they can hit,” Wise said of Evansville. “They’re solid, and they aren’t going to be intimidated by anyone.”

Sophomore Chris Oliver worked a scoreless ninth for Arkansas, walking one and striking out one.

Sports, Pages 19 on 02/23/2013