FAYETTEVILLE, AR (arkansasrazorbacks.com) – The No. 20 University of Arkansas baseball team scored five runs in the first three innings Saturday afternoon and used a career outing on the mound from Dominic Taccolini to roll past Loyola Marymount 13-7 and clinch the series at Baum Stadium.
Taccolini turned in his best collegiate outing, lasting 7.0 innings and giving up just two runs on five hits, while striking out a career-high nine batters to earn his third win of the year. The sophomore posted his third quality start and now has a team-high 27 strikeouts on the year.
Andrew Benintendi led the way at the plate with his first career three-hit performance, going 3-for-5 with a career-high five runs batted in, including a three-run double in the eighth inning as part of a six-run frame.
Part of that six-run eighth inning was thanks to Tyler Spoon, who came to the dish with his 11-game hitting streak on the line and belted a two-run homer to left field, giving him a 12-game hitting streak and Arkansas a 13-3 lead.
Clark Eagan, Rick Nomura and Michael Bernal all recorded double-digit hits in the game, giving Arkansas 10 or more hits for the seventh time in 11 games this season. Arkansas' 13 runs scored tied a season-high as the Razorbacks have scored double-digit runs in four games this season.
Arkansas and Loyola Marymount will play the series finale Sunday afternoon at Baum Stadium as the Razorbacks go for their third consecutive series sweep at home. First pitch is set for 12:35 p.m. on SEC Network Plus and the WatchESPN app.
Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn opening statement: “I thought we played a really solid game. It started on the mound with Dominic Taccolini. I thought he had outstanding stuff today. Offensively, I thought we did a good job up and down the lineup driving in runs. ”
Van Horn on today's offensive effort: “I thought we did a really good job of being patient early in the first three innings off their starter. He was a little bit wild and we laid off some borderline pitches in some counts where we could've been swinging. Offensively, we did a very good job. We got a couple of big two-out hits and jumped out to a good lead so we could basically just relax, pitch and play defense.”
Van Horn on Taccolini: “I think his confidence is definitely at an all time high since he's been here. He can just rely on his stuff and he doesn't have to over throw. He can just let the ball work. He can get people out with his fastball and I think he knows that. When he has his change up and slider going he can be a top pitcher.”
Sophomore pitcher Dominic Taccolini on his recent success: “I try not to get too high and low depending on how I pitch, but it's definitely good to see results, throw really well, and have quick innings in order to get our hitters back up there swinging the bat like they have been. If can pound the zone and not walk people, I think that's the critical thing.”
The leadoff hitter reached base in seven of eight innings and Arkansas had base runners in every inning.
The Razorbacks tallied double-digit strikeouts for the sixth time this year and had 13 strikeouts for the fourth time this season.
Arkansas recorded double-digit hits for the seventh time this season and double-digit runs for the fourth time.
Arkansas turned its 14th double play of the season during the second inning.
Tyler Spoon extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a two-run home run in the eighth inning. He is now four games shy of his career-long hitting streak of 16 games.
Michael Bernal extended his hitting streak to seven games and has back-to-back multi-hit games.
Dominic Taccolini recorded the longest outing of his career and added a career-high nine strikeouts. He retired 18 of the first 20 batters he faced.
Andrew Benintendi recorded his third straight multi-hit game and a career-high in hits with three and RBI with five.
Rick Nomura added two hits in the game and leads the team with six multi-hit games on the year.