FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — It took the bats a few innings to warm up again, but once they got going it was more than enough to power Arkansas to a 9-3 win over Gonzaga.
Connor Noland made the start Friday afternoon, struggling slightly with command early but limiting damage. His Bulldog counterpart, Mac Lardner, didn’t allow a baserunner until issuing a two out walk in the third inning to Robert Moore.
Neither team could break through until the fourth inning. Matt Goodheart drew a walk, advanced to second on a bunt by Casey Martin, and came around to score when Christian Franklin laced a single up the middle for the first Arkansas hit of the game.
Gonzaga responded with a run in the top of the fifth to tie the game, then Arkansas turned to small ball. Casey Opitz and Cole Austin opened the frame with singles, then Moore executed a perfect slash and run, knocking an RBI single through the whole on the left side of the infield to put the Diamond Hogs up 2-1. Braydon Webb followed with a RBI bunt to score Austin. After a Heston Kjerstad bunt single loaded the bases, a wild pitch made the score 4-1 Arkansas. Franklin notched his second RBI of the day with a sac fly, and the Hogs ended the fifth leading 5-1.
Noland gave up a two run homer in the sixth, but managed to finish the inning, finishing with 3 strikeouts, 5 hits, and 3 runs allowed in six innings.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Razorbacks added a pair of insurance runs. The in the seventh, Opitz put an exclamation point on the game, launching a two-run shot over the visitor’s bullpen. He finished 3-4, a double shy of the cycle.
With the 9-3 win, Arkansas stays a perfect 5-0 on the season. They’ll go for the series win Saturday at 2PM, when Patrick Wicklander takes the bump at Baum.