Razorbacks strike early to beat Rebels in series opener

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By John Franklin Thomas

The duo of junior Dominic Fletcher and sophomore Matt Goodheart combined for five of Arkansas’ eight hits Friday night as the eighth-ranked Razorback baseball team held off a final Ole Miss surge in the late innings to win the series opener, 5-3, at Baum-Walker Stadium.

Arkansas (22-4, 6-1 SEC) scored four runs off Ole Miss starter Will Ethridge before the fourth inning and seemed to have its offense clicking early. However, once the Rebels (18-9, 3-4 SEC) went to the bullpen and brought in Houston Roth, the Razorback offense went silent, getting only three runners on base, one by way of a hit, in the final three innings.

Ole Miss got runners into scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings, but closer Matt Cronin got the five-out save, his seventh save of the year, picking up three strikeouts in the process. Cronin did allow his first run of the season when he gave up a solo home run to Cooper Johnson in the top of the ninth. It broke a streak of 12 scoreless innings he had so far this season.

Offensively, Arkansas got multi-hit performances from Fletcher and Goodheart, who combined to go 5-for-7 (.714) with two doubles from Fletcher. Goodheart came away with the three-RBI night and both of his hits came after Fletcher doubles in the first and fifth innings. The three RBIs were a career-high for Goodheart, while the two doubles for Fletcher tied a career-high.

Fletcher continues to lead the team with 13 doubles on the year, which is good for a tie for the conference lead. The junior has 14 hits in his last seven games with five multi-hit games and eight RBIs.

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