College Baseball:

Freshman firepower: 2 HRs by Martin spark Hogs’ rout

By: Bob Holt
Published: Thursday, March 1, 2018
Arkansas second baseman Casey Martin connects for a three-run home run against Dayton Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, during the second inning at Baum Stadium.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas second baseman Casey Martin connects for a three-run home run against Dayton Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, during the second inning at Baum Stadium.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks infielder Casey Martin had a pretty good week at the plate Wednesday.

The freshman from Lonoke hit two home runs and drove in six runs to help the No. 6 Razorbacks overpower Dayton 18-1 at Baum Stadium before an announced crowd of 1,358.

"I was seeing the ball pretty well," Martin said.

Martin, who started at second base and later moved to third, came into the game batting .364 with 1 home run and 4 RBI in 11 at-bats.

Against the Flyers (1-6) Martin tripled his home run total while going 2 for 5 to raise his batting average to .375. He's the first Razorback to hit multiple home runs in a game since Chad Spanberger against Florida last season in the SEC Tournament.

"He's pretty good, isn't he?" University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Coach Dave Van Horn said. "Casey Martin, I've said it all along, he's got a lot of talent.

"He's strong and he's fast, and he can play multiple positions. He can play all three outfield positions. A couple infield positions, and he's a definite threat to steal a base."

Martin made his fifth start of the season. He started against San Diego State and the University of San Diego last weekend.

"He's a guy that I've been trying to get him more at-bats and play him a little bit at third," Van Horn said. "I got him a little time at second today. That might be his position of the future.

"Just trying to get him in the lineup, because he brings a lot of energy to the game."

Martin energized the Razorbacks (6-2) when he hit a three-run home run in the second inning off Dayton starter R.J. Wagner to start the scoring in what became an eight-run inning that put Arkansas ahead 8-0.

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"He got a fastball in and he just jumped all over it," Van Horn said. "Just a line drive. He's got a quick bat.

"The pitcher is a more of a slider guy and I think he tried to sneak by him."

With Evan Lee on first after a single, Hunter Wilson drew a walk on 3-2 pitch. Martin hit Wagner's next pitch over the right-field fence.

"Hunter did a real good job before me getting the next batter up," Martin said. "Our hitters did a really good job today."

Wilson was the first of nine consecutive Arkansas batters who reached base, including a two-run single by Heston Kjerstad and two-run double by Jared Gates.

The Razorbacks had nine hits in the inning.

"They really weren't cheap," Van Horn said. "They were all hit pretty good. Just a really good inning.

"It gave us a chance to kind of relax a little bit."

Freshman right-hander Caleb Bolden (1-0) started for the Razorbacks and went six shutout innings. He allowed seven hits -- all singles -- without a walk and had six strikeouts.

"Run support is huge," Bolden said of the 8-0 lead. "It's a big weight off my shoulder.

"I got up to get loose and had to sit back down because it was a long inning, but I'm very thankful for long innings and run support."

Martin added a two-run home run in the seventh inning off of Dayton reliever Mason Kutruff, drilling a 2-2 curveball down the right-field line.

"I didn't know if it was going to stay fair or not," Van Horn said. "I just know that he got out front, kept his hands back a little bit and hit it hard."

Lee, a sophomore from Bryant who went 3 for 3 with 2 RBI on Wednesday after coming into the game 0 for 5 on the season, said Martin has been impressive since arriving on campus.

"Just watching him through the fall and watching him grow up, kind of develop into the college game, making adjustments," Lee said. "It's been a real pleasure to watch from when he came in to now. I just think he's going to continue to get better."

Van Horn said a game like what Martin had should boost a freshman's confidence.

"And he's a confident kid, but not overconfident and cocky," Van Horn said. "He's just got a lot talent.

"I'd think any time you can build your stats up a little bit, it relaxes you as a player knowing that you've got some hits in the bag and some RBIs.

"You're not always thinking, 'Hey, I've got to get another hit, I've got to drive in runs,' because when you start doing that, you start pressing and usually good things do not happen.

"When you can relax a little bit, that's when good things usually happen."

Martin didn't sound overconfident after the game.

"You've still got to turn the page," he said. "Look to the next day after the game's over."

Today’s game

ARKANSAS VS. DAYTON

WHEN 3 p.m. WHERE Baum Stadium, Fayetteville RECORDS Arkansas 6-2, Dayton 1-6 STARTING PITCHERS Dayton: RHP Austin Cline (0-2, 15.00 ERA); Arkansas: LHP Hunter Milligan (0-0, 0.00) RADIO Razorback Sports Network TELEVISION None INTERNET SEC Network-Plus SHORT HOPS Arkansas was 11 for 21 with two outs in Wednesday’s game. … Razorbacks center field Dominic Fletcher broke out of a 1-for-15 slump by going 2 for 4 with 2 RBI. … Arkansas has scored 24 runs in the second inning this season, including eight on Wednesday.

THE WEEK AHEAD

TODAY vs. Dayton, 3 p.m. FRIDAY vs. Southern Cal, 3 p.m. SATURDAY vs. Southern Cal, 2 p.m. SUNDAY vs. Southern Cal, 12:30 p.m. MONDAY Off TUESDAY Off

Sports on 03/01/2018

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