FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas used a pair of freshmen pitchers in a 10-2 win over Evansville on Sunday to sweep the series against the Purple Aces at Baum Stadium.
Freshman right-hander Trey Killian made his first career start and his second appearance of the season. He retired the first 21 batters he faced in his career, including the nine batters he retired in a relief appearance last weekend against Western Illinois, before he allowed his first hit as a Razorback in the fifth inning.
“It’s awesome. I couldn’t ask for a better start,” Killian said. “It’s easy to throw strikes, throw fastballs in there and throw to contact whenever you have a great defense behind you.”
Killian (1-0) earned the win, allowing two runs on two hits and striking out five batters. Fellow freshman Colin Poche relieved the Mountain Home native by tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out one batter in his second appearance of the season.
“He’s not really used to coming out of the pen, but I thought he threw better in the second inning,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said of Poche. “His velocity was better in the second inning. He came in and threw a couple of balls, but he got it back together and got us in the dugout. It’s good to get some guys experience and get them ready for later down the road.”
Redshirt freshman Landon Simpson, senior Tyler Wright and junior Thomas Altimont combined to pitch the final two innings without allowing a hit.
The Razorbacks held the lead in all nine innings Sunday. Arkansas got on the scoreboard in the first inning when lead-off batter Matt Vinson scored on an RBI single by Eric Fisher. Joe Serrano also scored on a wild pitch in the opening inning.
“Last Sunday, we came out a little bit lackadaisical and we came out preaching it this weekend to go three days and that was the big thing we preached before we left the park yesterday,” Vinson said.
“To come out with a lot of energy and stay focused the entire game and we did that. It showed with our offense and defense. It was a good game for us.”
Arkansas added another run in the fourth inning to extend its lead to 3-0 before the Purple Aces put together a two-run fifth. Arkansas pulled away in the late innings.
Jacob Mahan hit his first home run in his career in the sixth and Arkansas plated five runs in the seventh to take a 7-2 lead. Serrano, Brian Anderson and Jake Wise all drove in runs following the seventh-inning stretch.
“He crushed it,” Vinson said of Mahan’s round-tripper. “I mean that was into the wind, but it was a laser. He hits them out in batting practice every now and then, but he’s not a guy I’d pick for a home run derby. But it was good.
“That was a good pitching staff. Just because they’re not a big name doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot of arms on that team. We came out today and we put it on them pretty good. It was important for us to take that momentum into Arizona.”
Vinson was one of five Razorbacks to score in the seventh and scored the game’s final run in the eighth. He finished the game 3-for-4 with a walk and scored three runs. Arkansas also recorded a season-high 15 hits against Evansville (1-5).
Arkansas will travel to Surprise, Ariz., where the Razorbacks will compete in the Coca-Cola Classic. Arizona State and Arkansas are scheduled to play Thursday with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m. or 50 minutes following the conclusion of the spring training game.