Diamond Hogs stay alive with 3-1 win
The 15th-ranked Arkansas baseball team eliminated Wichita State from the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 victory in the Manhattan Regional.
Arkansas improves to 38-21 on the season, while Wichita State ends its season with a 39-28 record. The Razorbacks will next play at 2:05 p.m. tomorrow against the loser of tonight's game between No. 1 seed Kansas State and fourth-seed Bryant. Tomorrow's game will be available on ESPN3.
Ryne Stanek earned the victory for Arkansas by throwing 7.1 innings of two-hit, one-run ball. Stanek improved to 10-2 this season and allowed one or fewer earned runs for the 13th time in his 16 starts, lowering his ERA to 1.39. Stanek's ERA is the third-lowest in a single season in school history.
Colby Suggs pitched a perfect ninth inning to record his 13th save this year, breaking the Arkansas single-season saves record, which was previously held by Phillip Stidham (1989) and Tim Deitz (1985). Michael Gunn finished the eighth inning by picking off the inherited runner from first and striking out the batter at the plate, picking up two outs on four pitches to send the Razorbacks to the ninth with the lead.
Wichita State starter A.J. Ladwig (5-6) took the loss, giving up three runs, two earned, on nine hits in six innings.
The Razorbacks pounded out 12 hits in the victory with six different players recording two hits. Eric Fisher, Jacob Mahan, Brett McAfee, Joe Serrano, Tyler Spoon and Jake Wise each had two hits in the win. Spoon had a pair of RBI in the win, while McAfee drove in one run.
Wichita State managed just two hits. Casey Gillaspie hit his 11th homer of the season, while Johnny Coy had the other hit for the Shockers.
Arkansas, the designated visiting team, jumped on the Shockers early with two runs in the top of the first, giving Stanek all the run support he would need. Serrano led off the game by reaching first on an error by the Wichita State first baseman who couldn't handle a low throw by the pitcher. Dominic Ficociello drew a walk to advance Serrano to second, and both runners moved up a base on a groundout by Brian Anderson. Spoon then stepped to the plate and laced a single to right center field that scored both runners.
Gillaspie gave Wichita State its only run when he hit a homerun over the right-center field fence in the bottom of the fourth, pulling the Shockers within 2-1. The run was the first earned run allowed by Stanek in 26.1 innings pitched.
The Razorbacks added an insurance run in the top of the seventh, when Mahan led off the inning with a single down the right field line. Wise singled between shortstop and third base on a hit and run that advanced Mahan to third and put runners on the corners with nobody out for McAfee, who looped a 0-1 pitch in front of the left fielder to plate Mahan and wrap up the scoring.
Wichita State was unable to get anything going in the ninth as Suggs tossed a 1-2-3 inning to give the Razorbacks the win and record his 13th save of the season.
For more information regarding Razorback baseball or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.