FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas ran away with a 14-4 victory over Georgia on Thursday night at Baum Stadium, blasting five home runs and getting another strong performance from pitcher Blaine Knight.
Arkansas won its ninth conference game of the season and 27th game of the year to remain in a tie for first in the SEC Western Division. It is the seventh straight win on opening night of a three game series and the Razorbacks have beat their opponents by a combined 46 runs over those seven games.
It was the second game this year that the Hogs hit five home runs and it all came from different parts of the lineup. Chad Spanberger started it off with a solo shot in the first inning. Then, Carson Shaddy and Luke Bonfield followed as part of a seven-run third inning. Jax Biggers’ long ball came in the fifth when he slugged his third home run of the year into the right field bullpen and Alex Gosser got in on the action with a solo shot to right field in the eighth, the first of his career.
Thursday marked the 14th game this year that Arkansas has notched more than one home run in a game and sixth with three or more. Arkansas continues to lead the league with 50 home runs, eclipsing its total of 49 from last season.
Knight gave up just three hits in six innings while striking out five and allowing only one run. It’s the fifth-straight win for Knight, all in conference play, and his fifth straight appearance of six or more innings and five or more strikeouts.
With the win, Knight stays undefeated in conference play (5-0) and moves his overall record to 6-1 with an ERA of 1.89.
Spanberger led the way, offensively, driving in three RBIs and scoring three runs on a 2-for-3 night at the plate. Since the Missouri series (March 24-26), the junior has hit safely in 12-of-13 games, and has eight multi-hit games during that span.
Bonfield drove in three RBIs of his own, all on the home run, on a 1-for-4 night. It’s his seventh multi-RBI game of the year and fourth game with three or more.
Moments That Mattered The Hogs wasted no time lighting up the scoreboard in the first inning when Spanberger hit his homer to left field from the first pitch he saw to make it 1-0. Georgia tied the game with its own home run from Michael Curry in the top of the second.
Spanberger drove in two more off of a double in the bottom of the second, making him responsible for the first three of Arkansas’ runs in the game. Spanberger has three or more RBIs in four out of the last five games dating back to the series opener against LSU.
Arkansas padded the lead in the third with seven runs in the third to make it 10-1, five off home runs from Shaddy and Bonfield. It was Shaddy’s eighth of the year, good for second on the team and Bonfield’s sixth.
Since being shut out by LSU in last week’s series finale, the Hog bats have come alive scoring 26 runs over the last two games while notching 27 hits, including 11 tonight against Georgia.
“We got some guys that are big and strong, they’re confident and feed off each other a little bit. They work extremely hard with Coach (Tony) Vitello and Coach (Josh) Elander, offensively, every day. Guys are starting to get into a groove a little bit, they’re seeing the ball pretty good. It’s a big part of our offense. If we put up a few big innings a game, we have a good chance of winning.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on the potent Hogs’ lineup from top to bottom
“Alex (Gosser) works hard every day and catches a lot of bullpens, takes batting practice. He’s been swinging it good in practice to the point where I’ve been considering DH’ing him. I also considered bringing him in in a couple of situations to pinch-hit. He’s earning his time at the plate. It was good to see him get a home run. I was just happy for him.” – Head coach Dave Van Horn on Alex Gosser’s first career home run
“It’s awesome. You can’t win without run support. It’s the SEC, you’re going to give up runs, you’re not going to shut everybody out. For me, them putting up runs like they’re doing is incredible.” – Blaine Knight on Arkansas’ run support
“We have a lot of mature hitters on the team who have been in the league for a while. It’s all about focusing on knowing how the pitcher is trying to pitch you.” – Luke Bonfield on the production of the lineup
Arkansas and Georgia will continue with game two of the three-game series Friday as the Razorbacks try and win the series outright. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Baum Stadium. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+ and can be heard in its entirety on the Razorback Sports Network on the Radio with Phil Elson on the call.