FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Wow. Whoa. Holy smokes. Use whatever exclamatory phrase is preferred. It applies after what Arkansas did to Kentucky on Saturday.
The first game of a doubleheader was all Diamond Hogs. Arkansas hit 5 home runs and Isaiah Campbell carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning against the No. 4 team in the nation. It all added up to a 14-2 Razorbacks win.
The victory ensures Arkansas will win the SEC-opening series. Game 1 on Friday night was a 9-4 Diamond Hogs victory. Kentucky entered the weekend atop the SEC Country baseball power poll.
Arkansas, the No. 5 team in the national polls, didn’t waste time. Solo home runs from Eric Cole and Luke Bonfield started the scoring in the first inning. A wild pitch in the second made it 3-0. An RBI single from Dominic Fletcher and Heston Kjerstad’s 3-run home run gave the Razorbacks a 4-run third. Explosion after explosion.
Kentucky starter Justin Lewis went 4⅓ innings, giving up 11 runs on 13 hits. His replacement, Brad Schaenzer, was hardly better. Arkansas added two runs to its lead in the fifth and sixth on RBI singles from Fletcher and Jax Biggers.
Biggers was the fourth Arkansas batter to go yard. He finished 3 for 4 with a walk, a run and 4 RBI. Carson Shaddy joined him with 3 hits, going 3 for 5 from the No. 9 hole with a double, an RBI and 2 runs.
For the second straight game, every player in the Arkansas lineup had at least one hit. The Diamond Hogs finished with 19 hits. Zack Plunkett hit Arkansas’ fifth home run, a solo shot in the eighth.
On the other side, Campbell was excellent. Kole Cottam broke up the no-hitter with a solo home run in the fifth.
Campbell wasn’t just good, he was efficient. He left after eight innings, throwing 108 pitches. Campbell allowed 3 hits and had a career-high 8 strikeouts.
The two were set to play the second game of the doubleheader a half hour after the first game’s finish.
Grading the Hogs
Some wondered how Campbell could be as highly rated as Blaine Knight when it comes to MLB draft projections this summer. Wonder no more. Kentucky was the best hitting team in the SEC entering the game.
Arkansas could not have asked for more against the No. 4 team in the nation.
The Big Stick + The Arm
A week after his worst start of the season, no less. Good luck finding a team with a better 1-2 punch than Knight and Campbell atop the rotation.
No longer with the pressure of hitting in the 3-hole, Kjerstad is bouncing out of his mini-slump. He went 2 for 4 with a homer, 3 RBI and 2 runs