Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
Hogs snap streak, shutout Aztecs
Arkansas freshman Colin Poche delivers a pitch Thursday during a game against San Diego State at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas began Thursday's game much like it did during a four-game losing streak in Arizona, but finished with a different result.
The Razorbacks overcame stranding runners in scoring position the first two innings and used a strong pitching effort to beat San Diego State 2-0 in front of 3,015 fans at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas scored both of its runs with two outs in the third inning and relied on the arms of its pitching staff from there. Brett McAfee scored the go-ahead run, coming home from third when the Aztecs tried to throw Jacob Mahan out on a steal attempt at second base.
Mahan, hitting leadoff for the first time this season, added another run on a Brian Anderson two-out double. The Razorbacks had failed to plate a runner in their five at-bats Thursday with runners in scoring position and stranded runners at third base in the two innings prior.
Arkansas stranded 31 base runners in its four losses at the Coca-Cola Classic last weekend, going 3-for-23 with runners in scoring position and 1-for-20 with two outs.
The run support was enough for Colin Poche and a pair of relievers in Arkansas' third shutout of the season. Poche pitched four scoreless innings in his second career start, allowing three hits and striking out two.
He was backed up by his defense with inning-ending double plays in the second and third, and picked off Jake Romanski at first base to end the fourth. The freshman left-hander has thrown 11 1/3 scoreless innings this season.
Brandon Moore pitched three innings and Barrett Astin added two to earn the save. It was Astin's 15th career save, tying him for second in program history.
The Razorbacks (8-5) turned four double plays Thursday, including one to end the game when Eric Fisher fielded a ground ball by Romanski, stepping on the bag at first base before throwing the lead runner out at second.
Michael Cederoth pitched all eight innings for the Aztecs (7-6). Cederoth struck out seven batters and allowed only three hits, retiring the final 16 batters he faced.
Arkansas didn't record a hit after Anderson's third inning double. Mahan also reached with a single that inning, and Tyler Spoon extended his hit streak to 13 games with a first inning single.
Center fielder Matt Vinson left the game in the fourth inning after unsuccessfully diving for a ball in the third. The senior suffered a sprain wrist and is listed as day-to-day.
The two teams will play the second of the four-game series Friday at 3:05 p.m.