Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Vandy nips UA on role reversal
Vanderbilt starter Carson Fulmer delivers a pitch during the first inning against Arkansas Saturday, April 19, 2014, at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE - Starting a closer worked out well for Vanderbilt.
Sophomore right-hander Carson Fulmer - who leads the Commodores with nine saves - made his first collegiate start after 40 relief appearances, pitching a career-long six innings, to help Vanderbilt beat Arkansas 2-1 on Saturday night before an announced crowd of 6,731 at Baum Stadium.
“He was outstanding,” Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. “He has electric stuff. His fastball jumps on you, and he had a really hard breaking ball.
“He started using his change up a little bit towards the end and it was a very good pitch. He got into some jams, but he got out of them. Probably a lot of experience he has gained by being a reliever, he used. That experience to get out of those jams.”
Fulmer (1-1) held the Razorbacks scoreless while throwing 101 pitches. He allowed 6 hits and 2 walks, but stranded 7 runners - including the bases loaded in the fourth inning - and got a pick off while striking out 6.
“He’s kind of a bend but-don’t-break kind of g uy,” Vanderbilt Coach Tim Corbin said. “You may find your way on base with him, but he’s tough to score against.
“He just doesn’t give in.”
Fulmer started in place of Jared Miller, who failed to go five innings in three of his previous four starts. Corbin said he talked to Fulmer on Monday about the possibility of starting, then told him Friday that he’d be starting Saturday night.
“He’s a very reliable young man and he’s very, very competitive, so we knew what we were going to get from him,” Corbin said. “Not necessarily shutout baseball, but we knew we’d have a chance to win if the ball was in his hand.”
Arkansas made it 2-1 in the eighth when designated hitter Blake Baxendale’s RBI single scored Joe Serrano from second base with two outs. Serrano reached on a throwing error by pitcher Hayden Stone and went to second on a stolen base when Brian Anderson struck out.
Clark Egan ran for Baxendale but was stranded on first when Ben Bowden got Eric Fisher on a pop out to end the eighth inning.
Brian Miller retired the Razorbacks (24-16, 8-9 SEC) without allowing a base runner in the ninth for his third save. Miller struck out pinch hitter Krisjon Wilkerson looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
Vanderbilt (29-11, 8-9) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning on John Norwood’s two-run home run against Arkansas starter Jalen Beeks (5-3). Vince Conde led off with a single and Norwood followed by hitting a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall.
It was the second home run Beeks has allowed in 662/3 innings this season. LSU third baseman Christian Ibarra hit a home run off of Beeks last week.
Beeks, a junior left hander, held the Commodores to 2 runs and 6 hits with 1 walk and 6 strikeouts on 114 pitches in seven-plus innings and was replaced by Jacob Stone after Nolan Rogers singled to lead off the eighth inning.
It was the seventh time in 10 starts Beeks went at least six innings. He has gone seven or more innings in each of his past four starts
“Beeks didn’t have his best stuff,” Van Horn said. “He didn’t have his breaking ball tonight, really. Threw some good change ups.”
Norwood’s home run came on a hit-and-run play.
“The ball was up, and he clubbed it and it got out of the park,” Van Horn said. “You look back and you think, ‘Wow, that ended up being the game,’ but [Beeks] gave us a chance to win.”
Arkansas left eight runners on base, including Jake Wise after he led off the seventh inning with a single. Michael Bernal struck out when he fouled off a 3-2 pitch attempting to bunt, then Tyler Spoon hit into a double play swinging at a first pitch breaking ball from Stone.
“That was frustrating,” Van Horn said. “It wasn’t good baseball.”
Baxendale finished 2 for 4, including a second-inning double against Fulmer.
Saturday night marked the first time Fulmer has pitched against Arkansas, but Baxendale had an idea about his ability from catching Fulmer during a pre-draft workout in St. Louis in 2012 when both were high school seniors.
“He can locate his fastball, locate his breaking ball, and it was a plus-breaking ball, too,” Baxendale said. “He can really do it in any count.
“He’s got a pitcher’s mentality. I feel like whatever they want him to do, he’s going to do it. We knew we had our work cut out for us, and he did a great job.”
VANDERBILT AT ARKANSAS
WHEN Noon WHERE Baum Stadium, Fayetteville RECORDS Arkansas 24-16, 8-9 SEC; Vanderbilt 29-11, 8-9 RANKINGS Vanderbilt is ranked No. 12 by USA Today, No. 16 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 18 by Baseball America. Arkansas is not ranked.
SERIES Arkansas leads 28-23 TICKETS Reserved $12. General Admission $10.
RADIO Razorbacks Sports Network statewide network. Not all games will be carried by all affiliates. Check local listings. TELEVISION ESPN INTERNET www.arkansasrazorbacks.com
PITCHING MATCHUP Vanderbilt: Tyler Ferguson (RHP 5-2, 2.88 ERA). Arkansas: Chris Oliver (4-3, 2.41 ERA).
SHORT HOPS Vanderbilt third baseman had a single in the third inning Saturday night to extend his hitting streak to 25 games. … Arkansas designated hitter Blake Baxendale went 2 of 4 Saturday night. He has two hits in each of his past four games. … Arkansas is 4-1 in the final game of an SEC series this season. … On Saturday night, Vanderbilt Coach Tim Corbin picked up his 600th victory in 18 seasons as as college head coach. … The Razorbacks are 5-9 in one-run games this season, including 1-6 when the final score is 2-1.
TODAY vs Vanderbilt, noon
TUESDAY vs Northwestern (La.) State, 6:35 p.m.
WEDNESDAY vs Northwestern (La.) State, 3:05 p.m.
FRIDAY vs Auburn, 6:35 p.m.
SATURDAY vs Auburn, 6:05 p.m.
Sports, Pages 23 on 04/20/2014