|Updated: 2/24/2012 8:33 pm
||Published: 2/24/2012 8:31 pm
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - DJ Baxendale turned in a quality start, giving up three runs in six innings, while six different Razorback hitters recorded two hits as No. 4 Arkansas defeated Valparaiso 7-3 in the series opener on Friday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
Arkansas is now 6-0 on the season, while Valparaiso drops to 2-2 on the year.
Baxendale earned his second win in as many outings in 2012, allowing three runs on five hits and striking out six in six innings of work. Dating back to last season, Baxendale has won four straight starts and seven of his last eight starts.
Cade Lynch earned his first save of the season, throwing three innings and giving up just one hit and striking out three.
Valparaiso starter Tyler Deetjen saw his record drop to 0-1 after giving up six runs on 10 hits in 5.2 innings.
Arkansas pounded out 13 hits in the win, the team’s fourth double-digit hit total in the first six games of the season. Six different players recorded two hits in the win, including the top four players in the Razorback lineup, which finished the game going 8-for-18 with three RBI.
Sam Bates, Bo Bigham, Dominic Ficociello, Jacob Mahan, Matt Reynolds and Jake Wise each had two hits in the win. Bigham and Wise had two RBI each, while Reynolds scored twice. Tim Carver also crossed home plate twice and drove in a run.
Chris Manning hit his second home run of the season to lead the Crusaders at the plate. Spencer Mahoney drove in a team-high two runs for Valparaiso.
Arkansas struck first, scoring twice in the bottom of the second. With one out, Wise and Jacob Morris drew back-to-back walks. Carver recorded the second out by grounding into a fielder’s choice to short with Morris being retired at second base. After Carver stole second put runners at second and third, Bigham drove in both runners with a single to center.
The Razorbacks added another run in the bottom of the third. Reynolds reached first with a one-out single and then stole second base. A ground out to second by Jimmy Bosco advanced Reynolds to third base. Wise came up with a clutch two-out hit, doubling off the left-center field to score Reynolds and make the score 3-0.
Valparaiso cut the lead to two with a leadoff homer by Manning over the wall in left-center field to trim the lead to 3-1.
Arkansas got the run back in the bottom of the fifth. Bates reached on an infield single to begin the inning, but was retired at second when Reynolds grounded into a fielder’s choice. After a ground out by Bosco advanced Reynolds to second, Wise came through with his second clutch two-out hit of the day, singling to left field to score Reynolds for the fourth Razorback run.
The Razorbacks brought home two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Carver was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then stole second. With one out, Carver moved to third with the Valparaiso pitcher threw the ball into center field on a pickoff attempt. After a strikeout by Mahan for the second out, Ficociello drove in Carver with a single to center field. Bates advanced Ficociello to third on a single to right field. Matt Vinson pinch ran for Bates and promptly stole second base. A walk to Reynolds loaded the bases and Bosco walked to force in a run and put Arkansas on top 6-1.
Valparaiso plated a pair of runs in the top of the seventh. John Loeffler started the inning with a double to left and Billy Cribbs drew a walk to put runners at first and second. After Steven Scoby grounded out for the first out of the inning, Mahoney hit an opposite field single to left field to score two runs.
Arkansas finished the scoring with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Morris drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a passed ball. A single to center field by Carver scored Morris for Arkansas’ seventh run of the game.
Valparaiso went down in order in its final two at bats to give Arkansas a 7-3 win in the series opener.
Arkansas and Valparaiso continue the three-game series on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Sophomore righty Ryne Stanek (1-0, 2.25) will start for the Razorbacks, while junior right hander Kyle Wormington (0-0, 1.12) will start for the Crusaders. Single-game tickets for Saturday’s game are $10 for reserved seats.