June 13, 2009
Omaha, NE -
Andy Wilkins and Zack Cox each homered and combined for 8 runs batted in Saturday afternoon as Arkansas beat Cal State Fullerton, 10-6, in the opening game of the 2009 College World Series.
The win advances Arkansas (40-22) into the winners' bracket against LSU, a 9-5 winner over Virginia Saturday night. The Titans (47-15) see their 9-game winning streak end and they fall into the losers' bracket to play Virginia on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. CDT.
Dallas Keuchel (8-3) and Mike Bolsinger (save No. 2) combined toHREF="http://www.fullertontitans.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/ramirez check the Titans on 9 hits while the Razorbacks knocked freshmen Noe Ramirez (9-2) and Tyler Pill around for 13 hits and 10 runs, the fourth most allowed in a game this season by Fullerton pitching. In his shortest start of the season, Ramirez went 3.2 innings and was charged with 7 earned runs.
Wilkins capped a 5-run fourth inning with a 3-run homer, his 19th of the year, after Cox had hit his 13th to make it a 4-0 game in the third.
Fullerton tried to rally from a 9-2 deficit with two runs in the fifth and one In both the eighth and ninth but came up short. Christian Colon had three singles and Joey Siddons had the only extra-base hit, a double in the ninth.
Arkansas jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. Chase Leavitt walked and Ben Tschepikow singled. Scott Lyons sacrificed to set up a sacrifice fly by Wilkins and an RBI single by Cox.
Cox belted a 2-run home run with two out in the third to make it 4-0 before the Titans generated some offense in the bottom half. Joe Scott walked and Siddons hit a shot toward right field. But second baseman Bo Bigham made a diving stop and got a force out. Colon singled and he and Siddons pulled a double steal, setting up a sacrifice fly to right by Gary Brown. Colon scored when first baseman Wilkins couldn't handle Josh Fellhauer's hot shot and was charged with an error.
The Razorbacks then regained the momentum with a late eruption in the fourth inning. A one-out single by James McCann and a walk put two men on with one out. Leavitt flied out for the second out but Tschepikow walked on a 3-2 pitch. The Titans went to Sunday starter Pill in relief and his first pitch was slapped by Lyons past shortstop Colon for a 2-run single. Wilkins then yanked his 19th home run into the right-field bleachers to cap the 5-run inning and produce a 9-2 lead.
After getting only two hits in the first four innings, the Titans strung three singles by Shevis Shima, Joe Scott (bunt) and Siddons for a run in the fifth. A sacrifice by Colon and another sacrifice fly by Gary Brown made it a 9-4 ball game.
The Titans loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth but managed only one run. Jared Clark struck out for the first out. Davis was safe on a fielder's choice when Tschepikow dropped the ball after fielding a ground ball and trying to tag Fellhauer. Dustin Garneau then hit into a double play. Colon singled home Siddons with two out in the ninth to complete the scoring.
Head Coach Dave Serrano
"That didn't work out as planned. We just didn't play Titan baseball today. We gave Arkansas too many opportunities early and then we kinda fell into a little trap. The guys were taking too much on themselves instead of just chipping away. Not playing our best game, I still thought we had a chance to win the game. Late in the game we were a couple of hits away form celebrating our first victory instead of the defeat."
(on Noe Ramirez's performance)
"Noe's performance, I think he would agree with me, was a D-minus. One thing with Noe is when he gets excited he loses his mechanics. He needed to slow down and work on his mechanics, it was just a bad day for him. I thought Pill threw well and Nick played well."
(on the fifth inning back-to-back sacrifices)
"I don't disagree with anything we did offensively. We are going to stick to our game and execute to manufacture some runs. I don't think Gary Brown took a quality at bat where he poked at a change-up to get a sacrifice fly. We will make adjustments, but now we will have to do it the hard way."
Pitcher Noe Ramirez
(on Serrano's remarks)
"I believe so. It was pretty much about my mechanics. Coming into this game I was more excited than nervous, maybe too excited."
First Baseman Jared Clark
(on Arkansas taking an early lead)
"I don't think it took anything out of us at all. We fought back very well and never gave up once and we never will."
(on senior leadership)
"I don't think I have to say much to this team. We can't lose another game. All I can tell them is to play better. Let's get back to playing Titan baseball."