Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Razorbacks win 10th straight, take series over Kentucky
Arkansas first baseman Peyton Stovall (10) bats during a game against Kentucky on Saturday, March 19, 2022, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas hit a pair of home runs during a three-run second inning to take the lead and cruised to a 9-3 victory over Kentucky on Saturday at Baum-Walker Stadium.
The fourth-ranked Razorbacks (15-3, 2-0 SEC) took the series from the Wildcats and won their 10th straight game. Arkansas will go for a series sweep Sunday beginning at noon.
Braydon Webb hit a one-out solo home run to the left-field bullpen to put the Razorbacks ahead 3-2 and Peyton Stovall followed with a two-run homer to right-center field in the bottom of the second.
Arkansas answered a two-run frame by the Wildcats in the top of the second inning, when Alonzo Rubalcaba and Ryan Ritter had RBI hits.
The Razorbacks took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out double by Robert Moore.
Arkansas freshman left hander Hagen Smith settled in after the second and delivered a quality start in his SEC debut. Smith allowed 3 runs, 5 hits and 3 walks, and struck out 7 in 6 innings. He earned his fourth win.
Smith’s only blemish after the second inning was a one-out home run off the bat of Hunter Jump in the sixth. By then the Razorbacks were in control.
Arkansas took an 8-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Moore and Brady Slavens drew consecutive two-out walks with the bases loaded. Moore had his second consecutive 3-RBI game.
The Razorbacks scored eight runs with 2 outs. Jalen Battles’ two-out single in the fourth put Arkansas ahead 6-2, and Slavens’ sacrifice fly scored Michael Turner in the sixth to extend the lead to 9-3.
Chris Lanzilli scored twice and reached base in his first four plate appearances on a pair of walks, an error and a sixth-inning single that extended his team-leading hit streak to 12 games.
Zebulon Vermillion pitched three scoreless innings to earn his first save of the season. Vermillion retired nine consecutive batters after a leadoff walk to Rubalcaba in the seventh inning. He struck out five Wildcats, including Rubalcaba looking to end the game.
Kentucky (14-6, 0-2) has struck out 22 times in two games against the Razorbacks.
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