Coming into Saturday night, the University of Arkansas had lost only three of the 34 baseball games it had played on its home turf at Baum Stadium.
By the end of Saturday night, the Razorbacks had shown the Golden Eagles the kind of baseball that produced that record.
Left-handed starter Kacey Murphy allowed just two singles over eight, scoreless innings and Arkansas sent 11 batters to the plate in the second inning to build an early seven-run lead on its way to a 10-2 victory in winner’s bracket contest at the Fayetteville Regional.
“He mixed his pitches, used both sides of the plate and really was in control,” USM coach Scott Berry said of Murphy. “Offensively, we haven’t been held down like that in a long time. But that’s how good I felt he really pitched.”
With the loss, the second-seeded Golden Eagles (44-17) dropped into Sunday’s 2p.m. elimination game with third-seeded Dallas Baptist University (41-20). The winner will meet top-seeded Arkansas (41-18) at 7 p.m. Sunday.
The Golden Eagles played Dallas Baptist in Friday’s opening round Friday and handed the Patriots a 9-0 loss.
USM is expected to start sophomore right-hander Walker Powell (7-2, 3.53 earned run average) Sunday, while the Patriots are expected to start freshman right-hander Luke Eldred (6-3, 3.08 ERA).
The Razorbacks, who are 32-3 at Baum Stadium this season, are expected to start sophomore right-hander Isaiah Campbell (4-6, 4.01 ERA) against the USM-DBU winner.
Saturday night, USM starter Stevie Powers (5-2) was battered for seven runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out two.
In Arkansas’ seven-run, second inning, the Razorbacks got two-run home runs from first baseman Jared Gates and right fielder Eric Cole, a two-run triple from second baseman Carson Shaddy and a run-scoring single from center fielder Dominic Fletcher.
“It was big,” said Murphy, who did not allow a hit through 4 1/3 innings. “A seven-run inning like that, it allows you to relax a little bit.”
Arkansas tacked on two runs in the fifth inning and another in the ninth to lead 10-0 before USM got two runs in its final at-bats.
Second baseman Matthew Guidry led off the inning against Arkansas reliever Caleb Bolden with his fourth home run of the season, and after a single up the middle by third baseman Luke Reynolds, center fielder Matt Wallner lashed a run-scoring double.
“I was proud of the way our guys battled there at the end,” Berry said. “We didn’t go away quietly.”
Shaddy finished with three hits and three RBIs and scored twice for the Razorbacks, while Cole also had three hits, drove in two runs and scored once. Fletcher and Gates each had two hits and two runs scored.
Guidry reached base three times on a home run, a walk and an error.
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