FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The 10th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks exploded for 10 runs over the third, fourth and fifth innings, and held on for a 10-1 win over the No. 30 Kentucky baseball team, evening up the series, on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, in front of 9,455 fans at Baum Stadium.
Kentucky (18-10, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) and the Razorbacks were battling in an early-inning pitching duel before Arkansas broke through with 10 runs over the third, fourth and fifth frames, taking a commanding lead.
Arkansas (21-6, 5-3 SEC) starter Drew Smyly, who entered the game with a 1.69 ERA in six games, picked up his third win of the year with a strong outing, improving to 3-0. Smyly went seven innings, allowing just four hits and one UK run, walking seven and striking out five.
UK starter Taylor Rogers (3-3) suffered the loss, going four innings, allowing 11 hits and eight runs, striking out two. UK freshman right-hander Jordan Cooper came on in relief and kept the UK bullpen intact for Sunday, going the final four innings, allowing six hits and two runs – one earned – not issuing a walk and striking out three.
The Wildcats got hits from Chad Wright, Gunner Glad, Braden Kapteyn and Taylor Black, with Black’s hit going as a double.
The series will conclude Sunday with a 2:05 p.m. ET first pitch at Baum Stadium. UK will seek to secure its first series in Fayetteville in 17 years, dating back to the 1993 season. Fans can hear the game live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM.
Arkansas broke the scoreless tie with three runs on four hits in the third inning. After James McCann flied out to lead off, Collin Kuhn doubled down the left-field line and after a groundout from Bo Bigham, Kuhn scored on a single from Zack Cox, drilled into the left-centerfield gap. Brett Eibner Followed and singled through the hole in the left side of the UK infield. That brought up Andy Wilkins who doubled down the right-field line, scoring two but coming up lame on his run to second base, with Jarrod McKinney called on to run for him.
The Razorbacks added to its lead with three runs on three hits in the fifth inning, as Travis Sample led off with a single, moving to second on Tim Carver’s sacrifice bunt. After McCann singled through the left side, Kuhn pushed a three-run homer off the foul pole down the right-field line, making it 6-0.
Arkansas continued to stretch its lead, plating four runs on five hits and a UK error in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking a 10-0 lead. Eibner led off with a single through the left side and McKinney single to centerfield. Monk Kreder then laid down a bunt, attempting to sacrifice but Andy Burns fell to the ground while charging the bunt, with the ball going for a single. That brought up Sample, who lined a single into rightfield, scoring two and bringing Carver to the plate, who chopped the pitch off the plate, bouncing high over the head of Burns, going as an infield hit, and reloading the bases. McCann followed and hit into a fielder’s choice, with Sample out at third base and Kreder scoring on the play. With Kuhn at the plate, Carver was stealing third and Cooper had him picked off but his throw to third sailed over the head of Burns, allowing Carver to score.
UK got on the board with a run in the top of the seventh inning, as Black led off with a double down the left-field line, with Glad scoring him with a two-out single through the left side.