FAYETTEVILLE – Freshman Cayden Wallace accounted for all five runs for the Black team in the first two innings, hitting a three-run home run and hitting a two-run single, to lead his squad to a 15-8 victory over the Red in the opening game of Arkansas’ Fall Series, played at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Wallace was 3-for-3, adding two walks, with four runs scored and five RBI. Ethan Bates added three RBI and Cason Tollett had two hits. The Black team only had eight hits in the win. However, the team drew nine walks and was hit by a pitch four times.
Cullen Smith, Braydon Webb, Brady Slavens and Zack Gregory each had two hits for the Red.
The Black squad jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Leadoff hitter Jalen Battles reached on an error and Christin Franklin was hit by a pitch. Wallace cleared the bases with a three-run home run to left field.
The Red squad answered in the home half of the first. Freshman Robert Moore delivered an opposite-field, leadoff home run to left. Smith and Webb followed with singles and, after a strikeout, Casey Optiz walked to load the bases. Gregory came through with an infield single to plate Smith and keep the bases loaded. Webb scored on a wild pitch to knot the score at 3-3.
Wallace did more damage in the top of the second for the Black. With the bases loaded, the Greenbrier product lined a two-out, two-run single to left field to bring home Bryce Matthews and Franklin, both of whom had walked, for a 5-3 lead.
In the bottom of the third, the Red squad used a pair of home runs to once again tie the game (5-5). Webb made it a one-run game when he lined a home run over the left-center field wall. Then, with two outs, Gregory deposited a 3-2 pitch into the bullpen in left field to square the contest.
The Black team pushed four runs across in the top of the fifth to grab a 9-5 advantage. After loading the bases, Jacob Nesbit lined a single up the middle to score Franklin. Matthews followed with a two-run double down the right-field line. Nesbit later scored on a wild pitch to cap the scoring in the frame.
The Red squad took advantage of a two-out error in the bottom of the fifth to cut its deficit to three (9-6). Slavens had a one-out single and advanced to second on a Gregory walk. Two batters later and with two outs, Zac White reached on an error, allowing Slavens to score. After a walk to load the bases, Black team pitcher Kevin Kopps was brought in from the pen and got a ground out to limit the damage.
In the top of the sixth, the Black squad doubled-up the Red, scoring three times to make the score 12-6. With one out, the Black team loaded the bases on a hit by pitch and two singles. Bates was hit by a pitch to bring home Franklin, who was hit by a pitch for the third time in the game. The Red squad turned to pitcher Mark Adamiak but he walked Charlie Welch to score Wallace. Nesbit followed with a run-scoring fielder’s choice.
The Red came back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 12-8. Cullen Smith had a one-out single, took second on a Webb walk and, after a wild pitch, scored on an RBI groundout by Slavens. Opitz flowed with an RBI-single.
Tollett and Bates put the game out of reach for the Black squad in the top of the seventh. Tollett had an RBI-single to score Clayton Gray. Bates followed with a two-run double for the seven-run margin (15-8).
Connor Noland started for the Black team. He struck out five with a walk in 2.2 innings while allowing seven hits and five runs. Evan Taylor was credited with the win, pitching 1.2 innings in relief. He struck out four with two walks and allowed one hit with an unearned run. Ryan Costeiu was saddled with the loss. He worked 1.1 innings in relief, allowing two runs with a walk and three strikeouts.
Game two of the Fall Series is set for Sunday (Oct. 18) at 1 p.m. The game will be available on SEC Network+. Kole Ramage (RHP) will be the starting pitcher for the Red team and Caleb Bolden (RHP) is slated to take the hill for the Black squad.