Solo Home Run In Seventh Inning Lifts No. 4 Arkansas Over Zags
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Billy Moon pitched brilliantly in his first career complete-game, but a solo home run in the seventh inning was the difference as the fourth-ranked University of Arkansas baseball team defeated Gonzaga University 1-0 in game one of the non-conference series Tuesday evening.
Moon (1-1) struck out two batters while scattering three hits and three walks in eight innings pitched. He also picked off runners on first base twice to end an inning.
Marco Gonzales and Travis Forbes each produced two of the Bulldogs six hits. Both of them also stretched one base hit into a double on the evening. The Bulldogs (10-4) also got singles from Eric Lane and Royce Bolinger.
The Razorbacks (15-2) used five pitchers and went to the bullpen early. Starter Chris Oliver allowed four hits and a walk before handing the ball to Cade Lynch after going 3 2/3 innings. Lynch earned his first win of the season after allowing one hit in 2 1/3 innings of work while Barrett Austin got the save after throwing 1 2/3 hitless innings.
The Bulldogs (10-4) got their first opportunity to put some runs on the board in the second inning when Gonzales and Forbes hit back-to-back one-out singles. Andy Hunter tried to bring in a run by hitting a grounder up the middle, but a diving effort by the Razorback shortstop set up a double play to end the inning.
In the fourth inning, Clayton Eslick led off with a walk and Bolinger followed with a single to left center field. With Steven Halcomb at the plate, Eslick was caught stealing third and was tagged for the first out of the inning. After Bolinger was forced out on Halcomb's fielder's choice, Gonzales hit a double to right field to end Oliver's day. Lynch walked Forbes to load the bases but the Bulldogs couldn't take advantage of it as Hunter flew out to center field.
Moon retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced but ran into a little bit of trouble in the fifth inning. He walked the first batter he faced, the runner was easily caught stealing second but Garrett's throw bounced passed the middle infielders to allow the runner to advance to third on the error with nobody out. Moon got out of the threat with a strikeout followed by back-to-back groundouts.
Forbes opened up the seventh inning with a double down the left field line. After Hunter struck out, Forbes advanced to third base on Garrett's groundout to the pitcher near the first base bag. Lane grounded out to second base to end the inning.
The Razorbacks came through in their half of the inning as Dominic Ficociello led off with an opposite field home run to right field. The home run didn't seem to bother Moon as he finished the evening retiring six of the next seven batters, but the Bulldog lineup couldn't ignite the offensive spark they were looking for all evening to bring in the runs.
The Bulldogs will look to split the two-game series Wednesday. First pitch is at 1:05 PDT.