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 shut down UNLV, sweep series
Arkansas reliever Zack Morris delivers a pitch Wednesday, March 15, 2023, during the seventh inning of the Razorbacks’ 5-2 win over UNLV at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Freshman right-hander Ben Bybee pitched five scoreless innings and helped Arkansas to a 5-2 victory over UNLV on Wednesday.
The sixth-ranked Razorbacks (15-2) swept the two-game series and won their 10th consecutive game. Arkansas is scheduled to open SEC play with the first of a three-game series against Auburn on Friday.
Starting for the first time since Feb. 21, Bybee allowed 6 hits and 1 walk, and struck out 3 during his 63-pitch outing. He threw 42 pitches for strikes and lowered his ERA from 6.75 to 2.35.
Bybee stranded base runners in the first, third and fourth innings, and freshman right-hander Gage Wood stranded the bases loaded in the sixth when the first two hitters singled and doubled against Bybee. Wood issued a two-out walk to Alex Pimentel to load the bases, but struck out Paul Myro to end the inning.
The Hustlin’ Rebels (5-10) stranded 10 base runners. Both teams had seven hits.
UNLV’s only runs against Arkansas were unearned against left-hander Zack Morris in the top of the seventh inning. Gianni Horvat walked to lead off and Santino Panaro singled, and both scored when right fielder Kendall Diggs dropped a two-out fly ball by Edarian Williams that hit his glove.
Williams was stranded at third base when Austin Kryszczuk grounded out to third baseman Harold Coll, who made a strong throw.
Morris worked around a two-out throwing error by shortstop John Bolton in the eighth inning and retired the Rebels’ top three hitters in order in the ninth. Morris earned the save with a 3-inning outing that included 1 hit, 1 walk and 2 strikeouts in his first appearance since a March 1 game against Illinois State.
Morris, a team captain and one of the team’s top relievers last season, entered the game with a 14.21 ERA in 6 1/3 innings.
Arkansas scored one run in the first inning when Tavian Josenberger led off with a single and scored on Diggs’ fielder’s choice RBI.
Jared Wegner hit a two-run home run 396 feet to left-center field in the fifth inning to extend the Razorbacks’ lead to 3-0. It was Wegner’s team-leading eighth home run and extended his team-best hitting streak to 10 games. He also leads the team with 29 RBI.
Diggs and Coll had RBI hits in the eighth inning to give Arkansas a 5-2 lead. Diggs’ double down the line in left field scored Bohrofen from first base. Diggs scored on Coll’s single to center field.
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