FAYETTEVILLE — No. 2 Arkansas got an outstanding job out of the bullpen from Connor Noland and used the long ball to defeat Southeast Missouri State 7-3 on Friday in Baum-Walker Stadium.
Noland went 4.2 innings only allowing two hits, one unearned run, struck out five, faced 15 batters and threw 55 pitches with 41 being strikes. Kevin Kopps pitched the ninth. Noland (1-0) gets the win and Noah Niznik (0-1) takes the loss.
The bottom of the sixth was huge for the Razorbacks. Robert Moore started off the inning with a bunt single. The next two hitters were retired. But then true freshman Cayden Wallace parked one over the fence in left for a 4-2 lead. Brady Slavens followed with a triple. Then Charlie Welch also hit one over the fence for a 6-2 lead with all of it coming after two outs.
Christian Franklin added a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth. The Hogs went onto to load the bases with two outs following Franklin’s home run, but the threat ended when Jalen Battles flied out.
Southeast Missouri State took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. The inning started when Peyton Leeper drew what was Zebulon Vermillion’s fourth walk of the game. Tyler Wilber then singled to center field allowing Leeper to advance to second base. After a line out, Andrew Keck singled to plate Wilber and Leeper went to third. Lincoln Andrews then grounded out, but Leeper was able to score on the play.
Freshman Dylan Leach playing his first game in an Arkansas uniform lined a single to center for Arkansas’ first base runner. The single came with two outs in the bottom of the third. Moore, who narrowly missed a home run on Thursday, didn’t miss this one. He put it over the fence for a 2-2 tie. Leach is filling in for Casey Opitz in this game.
Arkansas starter Zebulon Vermillion only lasted three innings. He had control issues throwing 61 pitches with only 30 being strikes. Vermillion allowed two runs, both earned, a pair of hits, four walks and one strikeout. Evan Taylor replaced him on the mound.
Taylor also ran into problems. He was replaced by Noland who inherited runners on first and third with just one out in top 4. Noland got Leeper to line into a double play to end the threat. In the top of five, Noland fanned the side.
SEMO added an unearned run in the top of seven.
The two teams will play the third game of the series on Saturday with the new starting time set for 11 a.m.