By Nate Allen Sports
FAYETTEVILLE – Nine Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles pitchers set Arkansas’ table with 13 walks.
With Heston Kjerstad’s grand slam plus a solo for his second home run, Matt Goodheart’s 3-run home run as his season’s first, and home run and four Razorbacks hitting five doubles among the 14-hits impetus driving runs home, Arkansas feasted on a 15-8 nonconference victory in four-hours before 4,360 Tuesday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.
Casey Martin, 4 for 5, hit two of the doubles, scored three runs and drove in one.
Arkansas snapped a 3-game home field losing streak and starting a 3-game winning streak off winning their last two SEC games at Auburn.
Coach Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks boost their record to 25-8 going into this weekend’s Friday through Sunday SEC 3-game series at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.
The Tulsa based Golden Eagles of the Summit League fall to 14-16 and this weekend host Omaha in a Summit League series.
Arkansas starter Marshall Denton hit the game’s first batter, Blake Hall with a pitch.
Former Razorbacks utility infielder Hunter Wilson of Spiro, Okla. become ORU graduate transfer second baseman batting second appreciatively tipped his batting helmet to the applauding Baum-Walker Stadium crowd then grounded to short with Hall advancing.
Wilson got applause every bat when he hammered his old school with a mammoth 2-run home run over right in the eighth.
In the first, Spencer Henson flied to right. Trevor McCutchin hit what appeared would be an inning ending fly to deep left. Apparently wind-aided, the deep flak just kept deeper hitting the wall over left fielder Curtis Washington’s reach for an opposite field RBI triple. Right-handed hitter Isaac Coffey also hit one to left, this one a no-doubter way beyond the fence 2-run home run.
Arkansas loaded the bases in the second. But after ORU lefty starter Caleb Lee walked Nos. 8 and 9 hitters Zack Plunkett and Washington, Trevor Ezell swung at the first pitch and grounded out to third.
Arkansas did score one off Lee in the third. Casey Martin doubled with one out. Matt Goodheart’s 2-out single brought Martin home.
Figuring he’d gone as far as he could with Lee and his pregame 7.36 ERA, Coach Ryan Folmar presumed he could protect with 3-1 lead with right-hander Sam Rainwater, 1-0, 2.29 and just two walks in 19 2-3 innings.
Folmar presumed wrong. With one out, Rainwater walked three consecutively then threw the 1-0 pitch that Kjerstad grand-slammed over the scoreboard towering in right-center.
What Kjerstad took away in the fourth, the Golden Eagles regained with a 1-run lead and a 3-run off reliever Kole Ramage starting the fifth relieving reliever Elijah Trest who had survived three walks for a scoreless third and fourth.
Wilson and Henson had singled before Coffey’s 1-out double scored them both with Coffey taking third on shortstop Martin’s errant relay from short left. Ramage mishandling catcher Plunkett’s perfunctory throw back to the pitcher after a pitch enabled Coffey to score for ORU’s 6-5 lead.
Arkansas concluded the fifth inning up, 9-6 enabling Ramage, 6-1, to be the winning pitcher of record.
Reliever Kevin Kopps pitched two scoreless innings replacing Ramage to start the sixth before Collin Taylor pitched the eighth and Caden Monke the ninth.
ORU reliever Landon Odom, the 0-3 loser, walked the first two in Arkansas’ fifth and was replaced by reliever Brody Gibson. Washington and Ezell consecutively doubled ORU’s trouble scoring netting three runs off the two hits. Martin singled home Ezell capping the 9-6 fifth-inning lead.
Martin and Fletcher doubled in the Arkansas eighth. Jack Kenley’s single scored one. Jacob Nesbit’s sacrifice fly scored the other.
Wilson hit his home run off reliever Collin Taylor.
Kjerstad hit his solo shot and Magnolia’s Goodheart clouted his 3-run home run in the eighth.
By Nate Allen Sports