FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – No. 9 Arkansas claimed their first series of the season on Saturday afternoon with a 10-3 victory over Eastern Illinois at Baum-Walker Stadium behind a solid outing from starter Will McEntire and a big day at the plate from Jace Bohrofen.
The Razorbacks wasted no time, scoring in each of the first three innings to claim an early lead. Jared Wegner’s two-out double was quickly converted into the game’s first run when Brady Slavens’ single to left-center field chased him home. The pair of two-out knocks became a theme for the afternoon as the Hogs scored seven of their 10 runs with two down while collecting six two-out hits.
Tavian Josenberger took his turn with the two-out magic in the second inning, launching his second home run of the young season over the right field wall for a two-run blast and a three-run lead. After the Panthers scratched out their first run of the game in the top of the third, Parker Rowland responded with a two-out, RBI-double to push the lead back to three runs.
After a couple of bumpy outings to start his year, McEntire returned to form on Saturday to earn the win. The big right-hander retired the first six he faced before Kolten Poorman greeted him with a solo home run to left-center to open the third inning. McEntire bounced back to retire the next two batters but a walk and a single put runners on the corners with designated hitter Ryan Ignoffo representing the go-ahead run coming to the plate, but McEntire caught Ignoffo looking to the threat and record his second strikeout. McEntire allowed just two hits to go with a pair of walks and four strikeouts over 4.2 innings.
The Panthers threatened again in the seventh inning against reliever Koty Frank when pinch hitter Caleb Zalewski led off the inning with a solo homer into the left field bullpen to trim the Arkansas lead to two runs. A two-out single brought the tying run to the plate but Frank ended that threat with a harmless ground ball to shortstop John Bolton.
Arkansas put the game away in the eighth inning, sending 10 men to the plate to score five runs on six hits. Bolton was followed by a single from Josenberger before a one-out walk to Wegner loaded the bases. Slavens delivered again, this time with a single to right field. Bohrofen’s third of the day found its way into the left-center field gap for two runs to push the lead to five runs. Back-to-back, RBI-singles from Ben McLaughlin and Rowland put the game away for the Hogs.
Bohrofen’s three-hit game continued his hot start to the season. The junior had a pair of doubles and just missed a third when runners on base only moved up one base in the seventh to limit him to a single. Josenberger, Wegner, Slavens and Rowland all chipped in two hits apiece with McLaughlin coming off the bench to drive in two runs.
Arkansas and Eastern Illinois wrap up the series tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. on SEC Network+. Lefty Hunter Hollan gets the ball for his Baum-Walker Stadium debut against EIU right-hander Ky Matthews-Hampton.
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