TEMPE, Ariz. – Arkansas starter DJ Baxendale earned his 10th win of the year, throwing eight shutout innings, as No. 19 Arkansas stayed alive at the NCAA Tempe Regional with a 3-0 win over New Mexico on a hot Saturday afternoon at Packard Stadium.
The Razorbacks improve to 39-21 on the season, while New Mexico ends its season with a 20-41 record.
Arkansas advances to play tomorrow at 3 p.m. (CT) against the loser of tonight’s game between top seed Arizona State and No. 3 seed Charlotte. A free webcast of the game will be available on FoxSportsArizona.com.
Baxendale, a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and an All-SEC selection, turned in a spectacular performance in a season full of them for the sophomore righty. Pitching in triple digit temperatures, the Jacksonville, Ark., native tossed eight shutout innings, scattering just four hits and striking out seven on 131 pitches to improve his record to 10-2 on the season. Baxendale becomes the first Arkansas pitcher to record double-digit victories in a season since Nick Schmidt won 11 games in 2007.
Trent Daniel came in and closed the door in the ninth, striking out the side to earn his fourth save of the season. With Daniel’s shutout inning in the ninth, the Arkansas bullpen has now thrown 23 straight scoreless innings.
The shutout for Arkansas was the sixth in NCAA Tournament history for the Razorbacks. The last time Arkansas shut out an opponent in the NCAA Tournament was in 2009 when the Razorbacks blanked Oklahoma, 11-0, in the regional championship game of the Norman Regional.
New Mexico starter Richard Olson (3-8) pitched well, but took the loss after giving up two runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings.
Jarrod McKinney was the offensive hero for the Razorbacks, tying a career-high with three hits in four at bats. McKinney had a pair of doubles, drove in a run and scored twice. Franco Broyles also had two hits in the win, while Bo Bigham and Matt Reynolds each had a RBI.
Collin Kuhn tied the Arkansas school record for career hit by pitches in the game after getting plunked for the 52nd time in his career. With his next HBP, Kuhn will set the school record, which was previously held by Jack Welsh (1997-2000).
Mitchell Garver had half of New Mexico’s four hits in the game, going 2-for-4. Luke Campbell and Jacob Nelson each had one hit.
Arkansas grabbed an early lead with two runs in the top of the second. Kuhn lined a leadoff double down the left field to lead off the inning. After Kyle Robinson lined out to short for the first out of the inning, McKinney bounced a double inside the third base bag and down the left field line to score Kuhn for the first run of the game. Broyles then reached on an infield single to put runners at the corners. Matt Reynolds laid down a safety squeeze bunt in front of the mound. Olson flipped to the catcher to try to retire McKinney, but the tag was late as McKinney scored to put the Razorbacks in front 2-0.
New Mexico had its first scoring chance of the game in the home half of the second. Campbell had the Lobos first hit with a single up the middle, but he was quickly erased on a caught stealing. Garver and Nelson followed with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with one out. Alex Allbritton attempted to lay down a safety squeeze, but his bunt was too close to the plate as the runner from third was unable to score. Nelson moved up to second on the bunt by Allbritton. Baxendale worked out of the jam by getting Trey Porras to pop out to first.
Neither team was able to get much going offensively after the second inning, but Arkansas was able to score an insurance run in the top of the ninth. McKinney started the rally with a single into left field and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Rice. After Reynolds struck out swinging for the second out, Bigham came through with a big two-out single to left field, scoring McKinney.