OMAHA, Neb. – Junior catcher Jake Wise had two hits and three RBI to lead the University of Arkansas baseball team to an 8-1 victory over Kent State at the College World Series on Saturday in front of 23,980 fans at TD AmeriTrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
The Razorback victory keeps Arkansas in the winners bracket of the CWS where it will face the winner of the Florida-South Carolina game scheduled for later Saturday evening. The Razorback victory is its second consecutive first-round win at the College World Series (2009) and improves the Razorbacks to 45-20 on the year.
Arkansas struck first with a run in the bottom of the first. Tim Carver drew a leadoff walk and was then sacrificed to second by Joe Serrano. Back-to-back walks by Matt Reynolds and Dominic Ficociello loaded the bases with one out. Brian Anderson then hit a liner that hit off Starn and went for an infield single, scoring Carver. Kent State was able to avoid further damage as Bo Bigham grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Razorbacks added another run in the home half of the second when Wise hit a 2-out solo blast over the wall in left-center field, his second homer of the season.
Arkansas stretched the lead to 3-0 with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Wise drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Carver. Serrano then lined a single up the middle to score Wise from second.
Kent State got the scoreboard with a run in the top of the sixth. With two out, Jimmy Rider hit a solo home run into the left field bullpen to cut the Razorbacks’ lead to 3-1.
Arkansas answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. After the first two batters of the inning were retired, Bigham chopped a ground ball over the third baseman’s head and down the left field line for a double. A walk to Derrick Bleeker put runners on first and second. Matt Vinson then lined a double into the left field corner to score both runners.
The Golden Flashes had a chance to cut into the lead in the top of the seventh, but came up empty. With one out, T.J. Sutton singled up the middle and advanced to second on a walk by Nick Hamilton. Moore then came in and did the job, getting Sawyer Polen to ground out to short and Alex Miklos to fly out to center to end the inning.
The Razorbacks tacked on three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth after loading the bases with one out. Anderson scored on a wild pitch, then Bigham and Bleeker crossed the plate on a line drive to right by Wise.
DJ Baxendale was credited with his eighth win of the season after going 6.1 innings and allowing just a single run on three hits while striking out four. Brandon Moore was credited with his third save of the season.