Bolstered by three first-inning home runs Wednesday, the Arkansas baseball team heads into its SEC-opening weekend on a bit of a roll.
Chad Spanberger and Luke Bonfield hit back-to-back shots and Jordan McFarland added a third in the inning to help the Razorbacks to an 11-3 win over Alcorn State at Baum Stadium. Arkansas plated five runs in that first a day after getting just three in a struggle against the Braves.
With that series out of the way, a 2-0 sweep for the Diamond Hogs (14-4), attentions turn to Mississippi State. The Bulldogs visit Fayetteville as both teams begin SEC play this weekend. Besides that obvious storyline, Arkansas pitching coach Wes Johnson was Mississippi State’s pitching coach last year.
His pitchers Wednesday were good enough. Kacey Murphy gave up some knocks – six in three innings – to start, but scattered them enough to get through allowing just one run and striking out six. Five relievers take care of the rest, giving up just three Alcorn State hits and striking out another seven.
Spanberger started the scoring when he took a 3-2 pitch over the right-centerfield wall, scoring himself and Jake Arledge, who walked to start the game. Bonfield, the 3-hole hitter, followed suit. He took the second pitch he saw to left for a solo home run. Three batters later, McFarland, hit a final two-run job that also scored fellow freshman Dominic Fletcher.
That was more than enough. Alcorn State (6-10) pitching ultimately gave up runs in six of the eight innings Arkansas came to bat.
Fletcher finished with the best day. He hit a home run of his own, a two-run shot in the fifth, and finished 3 of 4 with a walk, two runs and two RBIs.