Arkansas sweeps Eastern Illinois in doubleheader

By: Clay Henry , Matt Jones
Published: Saturday, February 16, 2019
Arkansas fans fill the stands to watch the Razorbacks and Eastern Illinois Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas fans fill the stands to watch the Razorbacks and Eastern Illinois Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.

Game 2

Arkansas 12, EIU 3, Final

Marshall Denton relieved for the ninth, just as the sophomore did in the opener. He gave up two-out single.

Arkansas slammed 14 hits to win the nightcap, with no home runs. They swept the doubleheader after winning the opener, 15-7.

Arkansas 12, EIU 3, End 8th Inning

Jimmy Govern opened the eighth with a walk. Jimmy Huber singled. That brought on Zebulon Vermillion in relief. Ryan Knerschield popped to short right. Matt Mackey drove Dominic Fletcher to deep right center for the second out. Casey Martin made an error on a hard shot that allowed one run with Huber reaching third. It was the third unearned run of the game for the Panthers. Vermillion fanned pinch-hitter Wyell Woods for the third out.

The Hogs put the game away with six runs in the bottom of the eighth, sending 11 to the plate. Jack Kenley walked on four pitches. Zack Plunkett doubled into the corner in left, one hopping a liner off the wall. Kenley stopped at third. Jacob Nesbit fouled off an attempt at a safety squeeze, then lined an RBI single to center. Plunkett stopped at third. EIU went to the bullpen for Clayton Slifer. Casey Martin singled to left to plate Plunkett. Heston Kjerstad reached on a throwing error by the third baseman to load the bases. Trevor Ezell added a run with a RBI fielder's choice, beating the relay to first from the shortstop. Dominic Fletcher plated one run with a single to center with Ezell moving to third. Pinch-hitter Curtis Washington fanned with Fletcher stealing second. Jordan McFarland singled to center for two RBI. Jack Kenley greeted reliever Alex Spahman with a single and McFarland moved to third.

Arkansas 6, EIU 2, End 7th Inning

Kole Ramage allowed a one-out single, but got out of trouble with a force out to end the top of the seventh.

Heston Kjerstad walked on four pitches. Trevor Ezell followed with a hard liner to right for a single with Kjerstad advancing to third. Dominic Fletcher was called out on strikes, as Ezell stole second. Christian Franklin struck out swinging. Jordan McFarland's opposite-field drive into the wind was caught against the wall to end the inning.

Arkansas 6, EIU 2, End 6th Inning

Ryan Knerschield lined a belt high fast ball into left to open the sixth. Casey Martin went to his right to turn a double play with Jack Kenley at second to erase that runner. Trey Sweeney was called out to end the inning.

Will Klein took over on the mound for the Panthers. Matt Goodheart fought back from an 0-2 count to line a one-hopper off the wall in left center. Christian Franklin replaced him at second. Jordan McFarland reached on a wild pitch on a swinging third strike. Franklin took third. Jack Kenley walked to load the bases. Zack Plunkett chased a high fast ball for strike three. Jacob Nesbitt stroked a two-run single to left. Casey Martin popped out to end the inning.

Attendance was announced at 4,809, noting that was scanned tickets.

Arkansas 4, EIU 2, End 5th Inning

Dominic Fletcher robbed Matt Mackey of an extra base hit to open the fifth. He raced straight back to snag a liner in front of the warning track. Casey Martin threw low at first for an error. Garyn Stewart's sacrifice bunt went for an error when Connor Noland fumbled the ball after fielding it cleanly, throwing late to first. Dane Toppel singled cleanly to center, but the Panthers didn't test Fletcher's arm in center to load the bases with one out. Alex Stevenson fanned on a nasty slider wide of the strike zone for the second out. That was Noland's 74th pitch, ending his day. The Baum-Walker crowd gave Noland a standing ovation. Kole Ramage walked Hunter Morris to make it 4-1. Jimmy Govern's one-hopper went off Ramage's glove for a single. Martin scooped it cleanly, but had no play with a runner scoring. Ramage got out of the inning with a 3-2 strikeout on a 92 mph fast ball. Both of the runs Noland allowed were unearned.

The Hogs went 1-2-3 to end the fifth. Casey Martin lined hard to third to open the inning.

Arkansas 4, EIU 0, End 4th Inning

Hunter Morris got a single to open the fourth. His bouncer went off Connor Noland's glove, dribbling to second baseman Jack Kenley. He tried to scoop it to first baseman Trevor Ezell, but it bounced off the first baseman's glove. Casey Martin and Kenley turned a double play three pitches later. Martin tried to side step the short hop on Jimmy Huber's liner, an error. A strkeout ended the frame. Noland has thrown 60 pitches. His limit is probably going to be 75.

Jordan McFarland fouled three pitches before working a walk. Jack Kenley popped out to short center. McFarland stole second as Zack Plunkett was chasing strike three out of the zone. Jacob Nesbitt fanned to end the inning.

Arkansas 4, EIU 0 - End 3rd Inning

Connor Noland got the Panthers 1-2-3 on 10 pitches, the first two on strikeouts.

Casey Martin and Heston Kjerstad were ready for Michael YaSenka's fast ball the second time to see the hard throwing righthander. They led off the third with lined singles. They both moved up on a wild pitch, a slider in the dirt. Martin easily scored on Trevor Ezell's soft pop to short right field that went for a sacrifice fly. Dominic Fletcher followed with another sacrifice fly to plate Kjerstad. His was just the opposite, caught by right fielder Alex Stevenson against the wall. The wind was blowing out to right in the first game, but it's blowing in early in the second game. YaSenka has thrown 55 pitches in three innings.

Arkansas 2, EIU 0 - End of 2nd Inning

The Panthers got a single to left to open the second, but Connor Noland stranded the runner at first. He has three strikeouts after two innings. Noland is reaching 92 on the radar gun with a slider that is hitting 83 and another breaking pitch at 79.

Domnic Fletcher opened the second for the Hogs with a double to the gap in right center. Matt Goodheart moved Fletcher to third with a sacrifice bunt. Jordan McFarland stroked a solid single to left to plate Fletcher. The infield was in, but McFarland's hit would have been through even with infielders positioned deep. McFarland advanced on a balk and scored on Zack Plunkett's ground single past the diving shortstop to make it 2-0.

Arkansas 0, EIU 0 - End of 1st Inning

Connor Noland worked around a two-out walk to work a scoreless first inning. He had two strikeouts.

EIU starter Michael YaSenka, junior righthander, fanned Casey Martin, Heston Kjerstad and Trevor Ezell on 18 pitches in the bottom of the frame.

Game 1

Arkansas 15, EIU 7 - Final

Marshall Denton recorded the final three outs and the Razorbacks are 1-0 after a good offensive showing in the season opener.

The teams will play again at approximately 3:45 p.m.

We'll have more from this game soon at WholeHogSports.com.

Arkansas 15, EIU 7 - Middle 8th Inning

Sorry for the delay in updates. We've had some internet connection issues.

EIU's Christian Pena hit a three-run home run off Jacob Burton to close the gap a little, but the Razorbacks still are on cruise control.

Arkansas is out-hitting EIU 17-10.

Arkansas 14, EIU 4 - End 6th Inning

Jack Kenley's first career home run was a monster shot over the back of the bullpen in right field. The Razorbacks have hit four home runs today.

Arkansas 13, EIU 3 - End 5th Inning

The Razorbacks plated four more in the fifth. Trevor Ezell had a two-run double to score Casey Martin and Christian Franklin, who each had a stolen base.

Dominic Fletcher also had a groundout that resulted in a run and Matt Goodheart had an RBI single.

Arkansas has 13 hits today.

Arkansas 9, EIU 3 - Middle 5th Inning

It is only one game, and it came after a long time sitting in the dugout, but it's fair to wonder whether Isaiah Campbell's struggles are really behind him.

The Arkansas starter gave up three runs on five hits in the fifth. Four of the hits came in the Panthers' first five at-bats.

The book on Campbell last season was that he struggled as soon as batters made it on base, and that was the case in that inning as the hitters began to touch him up when he was in the stretch.

Arkansas' defense didn't help him at the end of the inning. Casey Martin made a great running stab and throw from shortstop, from first baseman Trevor Ezell didn't have his foot on the bag. Ezell is a natural middle infielder, but is playing first because his shoulder isn't 100 percent after an off-season shoulder surgery.

Arkansas 9, EIU 0 - End 4th Inning

Jack Kenley's RBI double scored Casey Opitz to give Arkansas its ninth run. Jacob Nesbit reached on a throwing error by the shortstop in the next at-bat, but Kenley slowed down coming around third base and he was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

Still, it was a big inning for the Razorbacks, who scored eight runs and sent 12 to the plate.

Arkansas 8, EIU 0 - Bottom 4th Inning

The Razorbacks are in the middle of a seven-run inning. Two more scored after a two-out double by Casey Opitz.

That finally chases the EIU starting pitcher Tyler Jones, who leaves in line for the loss after allowing eight runs on nine hits. Opitz is his responsibility.

Arkansas 6, EIU 0 - Bottom 4th Inning

The home run derby continues. Heston Kjerstad's two-run blast went over the back wall in the right-field bullpen and scored Casey Martin, who doubled with one out in the at-bat before. The Razorbacks have a blowout in the making in the first game of the year.

Arkansas 4, EIU 0 - Bottom 4th Inning

Christian Franklin's three-run home run has brought some life to the crowd. It scored Casey Opitz and Jacob Nesbit, who each singled.

Franklin and Trevor Ezell each have home runs today in their first game with the Razorbacks.

Arkansas is out-hitting EIU 7-0. Isaiah Campbell is still perfect.

Arkansas 1, EIU 0 - End 3rd Inning

Trevor Ezell has scored Arkansas' first run of the year with a two-out home run to right-center field.

The home run came after Casey Martin and Heston Kjerstad each had drives to the warning track in the first two at-bats of the inning. Both probably would have been gone on another day, but the wind is blowing into the stadium.

Dominic Fletcher singled with two outs and advanced to second on a balk, but he was stranded there when Matt Goodheart flied out to end the inning. The Razorbacks have stranded a runner in scoring position each inning.

Arkansas 0, EIU 0 - Middle 3rd Inning

Isaiah Campbell is still perfect for Arkansas. He has retired all nine batters he has faced in 40 pitches. Twenty-eight pitches have been for strikes.

Arkansas 0, EIU 0 - End 2nd Inning

Isaiah Campbell needed only nine pitches to retire all three batters in the top of the second. That is big on a day like this when his pitch count will be about 70 or 75.

Two Arkansas batters, Jack Kenley and Jacob Nesbit, drew two-out walks but both were stranded when Christian Franklin grounded out to end the inning.

Arkansas 0, EIU 0 - End 1st Inning

Isaiah Campbell retired all three batters he faced in the top of the first, including one by strikeout.

Arkansas had a good chance in the bottom of the inning after Casey Martin led off with a first-pitch single into left field. But after EIU left fielder Keith Kerrigan made a good running catch to rob Heston Kjerstad of a catch, Martin was thrown out trying to steal second base. Trevor Ezell walked in five pitches and advanced on a wild pitch, but was stranded when Dominic Fletcher grounded out to end the inning.

Pregame

It is a cold, dreary day in Fayetteville. The temperature is 31 degrees and wind chill is 24.

The Razorbacks and Panthers are playing a doubleheader today beginning at noon. The second game will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Both games will be nine innings.

Right-handers Isaiah Campbell and Connor Noland will pitch for Arkansas today.

Trevor Ezell will start at first base and Matt Goodheart is the designated hitter. There had been some question as to which would play first and which would DH. Both are native Arkansans who transferred in after beginning their college careers elsewhere.

Fans also will get their first look at freshman left fielder Christian Franklin.

EIU lost several players off a team that went 23-31 overall and 12-18 in the Ohio Valley Conference last season. The Panthers have several upperclassmen, however, because they filled many of the vacant roster positions with players from junior college.

Despite the cold conditions, there are a lot of people in the ballpark today. It won't be a sellout, but it will be a good-sized attendance when it is announced later today.

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