Arkansas scores 3 in ninth to prevail

By: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018
Arkansas relief pitcher Matt Cronin struck out five in four innings and earned his second win of the season against San Diego State on Saturday
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas relief pitcher Matt Cronin struck out five in four innings and earned his second win of the season against San Diego State on Saturday

The Arkansas Razorbacks used a big ninth inning to earn their first victory at the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament in San Diego on Saturday.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (5-1) scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to secure a 5-2 victory over San Diego State. The victory gives Coach Dave Van Horn 600 in his 16 seasons with the program.

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Jared Gates led off the inning with a walk off of pitcher Daniel Ritcheson, who was lifted for Adrian Mardueno after the base on balls.

Grant Koch then walked, moving pinch runner Jordan McFarland to second base with nobody out. Casey Martin laid down a bunt, but third baseman Casey Schmitt's error allowed McFarland to score and moved Koch to third and Martin to second.

Jax Biggers followed with a sacrifice fly to score Koch and put the Razorbacks ahead 4-2. Eric Cole walked, Dominic Fletcher struck out and Luke Bonfield was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Heston Kjerstad then walked to drive in Martin, giving the Razorbacks a 5-2 lead over the Aztecs (4-2).

Matt Cronin, who entered the game in the sixth inning, struck out two batters in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close it out. Cronin (2-0) retired all 12 batters he faced, striking out five.

The Razorbacks took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Fletcher's sacrifice fly scored Biggers. San Diego State responded in the bottom of the third, scoring an unearned run off starter Isaiah Campbell after an error by the shortstop Biggers.

Arkansas went ahead in the top of the sixth on a home run by Cole, but the Aztecs responded with a double by Chase Calabuig and an RBI single by Dean Nevarez to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth. Cronin entered with a runner on first and nobody out to begin his string of 12 consecutive outs.

Campbell pitched 5-plus innings, giving up 2 runs (1 earned), 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 7.

Sports on 02/25/2018

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