FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Freshman center fielder Brett Eibner provided just enough offense while the Arkansas pitching staff fanned 16 Kansas hitters in a 2-1 Razorback win in front of 1,334 fans at Baum Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The 16 strikeouts were the most by a UA team since Jess Todd fanned 17 by himself against South Carolina in the 2007 SEC Tournament, setting the tournament’s single-game record. The win ran the Razorbacks’ record to 4-0 on the season while the Jayhawks fell to 2-4.
“Most mid-week games are a little crazy,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “We did a good job of putting the bat on the ball. However, I give all the credit to our pitching staff. It was exciting to see [James] Mahler have a good outing.”
The Razorbacks only managed four hits on the afternoon, but fanned just three times, as the two-through-five hole hitters all collected one hit each.
The Arkansas bats finally dented the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning when Eibner ripped a two-out, two-RBI single past the third baseman for the first runs of the game for either team. Eibner finished the game 1 for 3 and is hitting .500 through the first four games of his rookie campaign.
“[Brett] Eibner has shown me over these last few games that he’s not scared,” Van Horn said. “Usually, when you come into this league from high school or even junior college, you have to be fearless, and I don’t see any fear at all.”
Ryan Cisterna led off the sixth inning with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Logan Forsythe then reached on an infield single in the hole between shortstop and third base moving Cisterna to third. After a walk to Andy Wilkins loaded the bases, Eibner laced a 3-2 pitch off the glove and past the KU third baseman Tony Thompson.
The Razorbacks used six pitchers who held the Jayhawks to just four hits. James Mahler started and threw well over 3.1 innings, striking out six and allowing just one hit. Sophomore lefty Stephen Richards came on for Mahler and struck out the only two hitters he faced in the fourth inning.
Mike Bolsinger pitched a scoreless fifth and sixth inning to earn his first win as a Razorback. He faced just seven batters and struck out five of them while allowing just a single hit. Cliff Springston pitched a perfect seventh inning with one strikeout.
Justin Wells was tagged with the Jayhawks' only run in the eighth inning when he issued a walk and surrendered a single before being lifted for closer Travis Hill. After a walk, Hill got John Allman to ground out to second base, but the Hogs’ could not complete the double play allowing a run to score.
Hill got out of the eighth inning and finished off the ninth to close out the win and his second save of the season.
The Arkansas bullpen continued its outstanding work with another 4.2 innings on Wednesday, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out 10 and issuing just two walks. For the season, the Arkansas bullpen boasts a 0.72 ERA over 25 innings of work with 33 strikeouts and just eight walks.
Arkansas travels to College Station, Texas, this weekend for the Domino’s Pizza Classic at Texas A&M’s Olsen Field. UA opens with Louisiana Tech at 12:30 p.m. Friday and then faces host Texas A&M on Saturday and closes out the tournament with Ohio State at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Sophomore left-hander Dallas Keuchel will get the nod on Friday vs. the Bulldogs with freshman right-hander Kendall Korbal going on Saturday and junior Shaun Seibert on Sunday.