Newcomers Shine In Arkansas Win

FAYETTEVILLE — A highly rated class of newcomers figured to be one of the keys to Arkansas' baseball success this season. Many of the players in that class showed Tuesday why they're so important to the Razorbacks this spring.

With Arkansas in control of the game most of the way, it was Drew Smyly, Bryan Bingham, Geoffrey Davenport and Bo Bigham who took center stage in a 7-3 win against Valparaiso.

With a crowd of 1,193 on hand in a chilly Baum Stadium, Smyly, Bingham and Davenport combined to work 7 2/3 strong innings and Bigham had two hits, one run batted in and one stolen base as the Razorbacks opened the two-game series against the Crusaders in style.

"We know we've got some good older players," Van Horn said. "And we've got some young guys right there that are pushing to play a little bit, and they're going to have to help us throughout this season.

"So we're just trying to get them in there."

Making his second start of the year on the mound, Smyly (1-0) — a redshirt freshman left-hander from Little Rock Central — threw five innings and allowed just one run on five hits. That was followed by Bingham, who worked two perfect innings in his first game back from a rib cage injury.

Then came Davenport, who retired the final two batters in the ninth to squash a late rally by Valparaiso (4-2).

"I thought I did good," Smyly said. "I was just trying to come out and throw strikes and let my defense do the work. (Scott) Lyons probably made six or seven plays to help me out. Everybody played good, we hit well and it was just good to get the win."

Arkansas (6-1) scored four runs in the first and two more in the second — led by a pair of run-scoring doubles off the bats of Andy Wilkins and Zack Cox — to take command early with a 6-0 lead. After that, the offense cooled off a bit for the Razorbacks as they managed just four hits the rest of the way.

"We wanted to get after them," Van Horn said. "We got on them early and they gave us a couple here and there, but we didn't do much at the end of the game. I mean, we had the game in hand and we felt good about the game. But it would have been nice to score some more runs."

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