Baxendale cruises as Hogs win series

FAYETTEVILLE, AR (U of A) – Arkansas starting pitcher DJ Baxendale struck out seven and allowed just six hits over eight shutout innings to lead the 13th-ranked Razorbacks to an 8-0 series-clinching win over Georgia on Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium.

The Razorbacks improve to 24-7 overall and 7-5 in the Southeastern Conference with the win, while Georgia drops to 19-13 and 5-7 in league play after the loss.

Baxendale (6-1) was outstanding on the mound for Arkansas en route to earning his sixth win of the season. The junior right hander threw a season-high eight shutout innings, allowing six hits and striking out a season-best seven without issuing a walk. Baxendale threw 109 pitches, 84 of those for strikes, in his eight innings of work.

Nolan Sanburn closed the win for Arkansas, striking out a batter in a scoreless ninth inning.

Georgia starter Pete Nagel (0-1) took the loss after allowing three runs on two hits in two-plus innings.

For the second straight game, the Arkansas offense produced a double-digit hit total, recording 11 hits in Sunday's victory. Dominic Ficociello had a pair of hits, including his fourth homer of the season, and drove in three runs. Ficociello extended his hitting streak to eight straight games with his pair of hits. Jimmy Bosco and Matt Reynolds also added two hits and a RBI in the victory. Reynolds stretched his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 11 straight. Brian Anderson, Joe Serrano and Jacob Morris each contributed a hit and a RBI.

Brett DeLoach, Kyle Farmer, Levi Hyams, Colby May, Peter Verdin and Conor Welton each had one hit for the Georgia offense.

Arkansas struck first, scoring a run in the bottom of the second. Reynolds reached on an infield single to the shortstop to start the inning, but was retired at second base on a fielder's choice ground out by Bosco. After Derrick Bleeker fouled out to right for the second out, Serrano and Jake Wise drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Anderson then took four straight balls to force in a run for the game's first run.

The Razorbacks stretched the lead to five with a four-run bottom of the third. Jacob Mahan was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and was along for the ride on Ficociello's two-run blast over the bullpen in right field. The homer for Ficociello was his fourth of the season. Reynolds then drew a four-pitch walk and stole second base. A base hit to right by Bosco scored Reynolds to put Arkansas in front 4-0. With one out, Bosco advanced to second on a balk. Serrano then grounded a single up the middle that scored Bosco from second base.

Arkansas closed the scoring with a three-run bottom of the eighth. Anderson drew a lead-off walk and then advanced to second on a single to center by Tim Carver. Bo Bigham moved each runner into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Ficociello drove in his third run of the game with a single to right, scoring Anderson and moving Carver to third. A ground out to the shortstop by Reynolds scored Carver. Morris then reached on an infield single to the shortstop. Ficociello never stopped running on the play and was able to score all the way from second to put the Razorbacks in front 8-0.

Sanburn allowed a lead-off walk in the top of the ninth, but retired the next three batters to give Arkansas the victory.

Arkansas steps out of conference play on Tuesday, traveling to Norman, Okla., to face the Oklahoma Sooners. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. The game will be televised by CST.