OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – FRIDAY, MARCH 5, 2021 – COMMUNICATIONS CONTACT: OLIVER GRIGG
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS BASEBALL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Never a doubt.
Robert Moore’s late-game heroics propelled No. 1 Arkansas to a thrilling 7-6 comeback win against Murray State (5-4) on Friday evening at Baum-Walker Stadium. The Hog second baseman jacked two two-run homers, including the game-winning blast in the bottom of the eighth, to lift the Razorbacks to their eighth consecutive win.
Arkansas has now opened a campaign with a perfect 8-0 record five times in the Dave Van Horn era. The Hogs also did so during the 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2016 seasons.
Starter Peyton Pallette went four innings, striking out 10 Racers while allowing two runs on four hits and three walks. After Murray State struck first with a run in the top of the third, the Razorbacks came right back with three of their own.
Outfielder Cayden Wallace’s sacrifice fly scored Moore before catcher Casey Opitz knocked in two more with his triple to right field. The Hogs were ahead 3-1 after three innings of play, but Murray State scored five across the fourth and fifth innings to open a three-run lead.
Moore took over the game in the bottom of the sixth. The preseason All-American launched his first of two two-run dingers to right, scoring shortstop Jalen Battles to cut the deficit to one.
Right-hander Patrick Wicklander, meanwhile, quieted the Racer bats, entering the game in the fifth and striking out two in his two innings of work. His effort out of the bullpen, along with that of right-handers Ryan Costeiu and Kevin Kopps, allowed the Razorbacks to stage their comeback.
A leadoff walk to pinch hitter Zack Gregory in the bottom of the eighth set the table for Moore’s heroics. The Leawood, Kan., native turned on a 1-1 pitch and launched his second two-run blast of the evening over the wall in right to give Arkansas a 7-6 lead.
Jaxon Wiggins came on in the top of the ninth and pitched a perfect 1-2-3 frame, striking out two. The freshman, who has now struck out seven of the nine batters he has faced in his career, picked up his first save en route to the Razorbacks’ eighth win in a row.
The second game of the series gets underway at 1 p.m. tomorrow. Originally scheduled for 3 p.m., the contest was moved up two hours to minimize conflicts for fans attending both the Razorback baseball and men’s basketball games.