Arkansas completes sweep with 17-1 win

Arkansas completes sweep with 17-1 win

The fourth-ranked Arkansas Razorback baseball team completed a season-opening three-game sweep of Villanova with a 17-1 win in eight innings on Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The fourth-ranked Arkansas Razorback baseball team completed a season-opening three-game sweep of Villanova with a 17-1 win in eight innings on Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium.

The Razorbacks improve to 3-0 on the season, while the Wildcats are now 0-3.

Due to Villanova’s travel schedule, the game was halted at 4:15 p.m. with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning.

For the series, Arkansas put up 41 runs, scoring double figures in each game. The 41 runs are the most through the first three games of a season since the 1997 season when Arkansas scored 60 runs in its first three games.

While the bats closed the weekend on a strong note, so did the Arkansas pitching staff as four different pitchers combined to allow just one run.

Starter Barrett Astin earned the win, throwing five no-hit innings and striking out seven, while also issuing three walks. Astin opened the game by retiring the first seven batters he faced and closed his outing by sitting down seven of the last eight batters that came to the plate.

Trent Daniel and Michael Gunn each had scoreless appearances out of the bullpen. Daniel tossed a shutout inning, giving up two hits, while Gunn struck out two and allowed one hit in 1.2 innings.

Dominic Ficociello, Jacob Mahan and Matt Reynolds each had three hits to pace Arkansas at the plate. Mahan drove in three runs and scored twice, while Ficociello and Reynolds each added two RBI. Bo Bigham and Jake Wise each contributed a pair of hits. Bigham drove in two runs and scored three times, while Wise homered, drove in two runs and scored four times.

Sam Bates continued his strong start to the season, hitting his second home run and driving in two runs. Bates finished the weekend hitting .556 with a pair of homers, nine RBI and three runs scored.

Villanova starter Max Almonte suffered the loss. Almonte surrendered seven runs, six earned, on six hits in two innings.

Matt Fleishman, Andrew Geenen, Connor Jones and Jordan Zech each had one hit for the Wildcats, while Marlon Calbi added a RBI.

Arkansas grabbed the early lead with four runs in the bottom of the first. Bigham laced the first pitch of the inning up the middle for a single and then stole second base. An opposite field single to left field by Mahan drove in Bigham for the game’s first run. Ficociello then reached first on a bunt single to third. The third baseman’s throw to first was wild, allowing Ficociello to move up to second and Mahan to third. The second baseman then threw wild to home, which allowed Mahan to score and Ficociello to go to third. Bates then cranked his second home run of the weekend, a two-run blast just to the right of the batter’s eye in center field to put the Razorbacks in front 4-0.

Arkansas added another run in the bottom of the second. Bigham reached on a throwing error by the third baseman to begin the inning and then moved to second on a throwing error by the pitcher on a pickoff attempt. Ficociello brought home Bigham with a single to right-center field for the fifth run of the game.

The Razorbacks continued to score in the bottom of the third, plating three runs. Matt Vinson drew a leadoff walk and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Back-to-back walks to Wise and Morris loaded the bases with nobody out. Carve then drew a five-pitch walk to score Vinson. Bigham drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to center field. An RBI single by Mahan to right field closed the scoring in the inning.

Arkansas tallied six more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Reynolds doubled to left to start the frame and then stole third. After a strikeout by Vinson, Wise walked and Morris was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A sacrifice fly to center field by Carver scored Reynolds. Bigham, Mahan and Ficociello each drove in a run with three consecutive singles. After Bates was hit by a pitch, Reynolds added his second hit of the inning, driving in two runs.

The Razorbacks scored once in the home half of the fifth. Wise doubled on a misjudged pop up by the third baseman to start the inning and then scored on a RBI single to center by Conor Costello.

Villanova got on the scoreboard with a run in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Calbi hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Adam Nelson.

Arkansas closed the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the eighth, the final half inning of the day. With two out, Joe Serrano was hit by a pitch. Wise then launched a home run over the bullpen in left field for a two-run blast to make the final score 17-1.

The Razorbacks continue their season-opening homestand on Tuesday as they host Northwestern State in the first game of a two-game midweek series. Game times against the Demons are scheduled for 3:05 p.m. on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Single-game and season tickets are available for the 2012 Arkansas baseball season. Single-game tickets are $10 for reserved and $8 for general admission, while season tickets are $190 for adults and $140 for University of Arkansas staff, youth and senior citizens. Tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-982-HOGS (4647) or by visiting the online ticket center at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
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