Cox replaced starter Dallas Keuchel in the seventh inning and turned in the best relief stint of his career. He didn't allow a run, gave up one hit and struck out five in two innings.
The effort helped the Razorbacks stay in the game after falling into a 4-0 hole. It also was another sign that Cox, who has appeared in three other games, is capable of helping in relief.
Cox, who entered the game 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA, opened his relief stint Friday by striking out three of the five batters he faced in the sixth inning. He gave up a leadoff double to Cal first baseman Mark Canha in the eighth inning, but got out of the jam by striking out the last two batters he faced.
Arkansas third baseman Andy Wilkins had a forgettable outing at third base in the early innings Friday night.
The sophomore committed two errors on well-hit ground balls in the first inning, which led to two of Cal's three runs. Wilkins had more trouble later when he couldn't get a grip on a sharp shot to his left in the second inning. But that play was ruled a hit.
The two errors now gives Wilkins a team-high five in nine games.
Wilkins may have struggled, but the Razorbacks did turn in a pair of big defensive plays to keep things close.
The first came in the second, when left fielder Collin Kuhn and catcher Ryan Cisterna teamed up to throw out Cal's Dylan Tonneson at the plate. Kuhn scooped up a single off the bat of Michael Brady and fired the ball home to Cisterna, who blocked the plate and applied the tag to end the inning.
An inning later, Cisterna helped the Razorbacks end another Cal scoring threat. Golden Bears catcher Dylan Tonneson tried to steal third with one out, but Cisterna threw him out.
It was the first time Arkansas had thrown out two baserunners in the same game since the South Carolina series last May.
Arkansas and Cal will play the second game of their three-game series today at 2:05 p.m.
The Razorbacks will send right-hander T.J. Forrest (0-0, 2.45 ERA) to the mound this afternoon. Cal will counter with right-hander Brian Diener (0-0, 2.84 ERA).
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