The Sylvan Hills product pitched 7.1 innings, allowing no earned runs on three hits while striking out seven batters in leading the Arkansas Black team to a 6-0 win over Arkansas Cardinal in Game 3 of the Razorbacks' Fall World Series.
With the win the Black squad now leads the best of five series 2-1.
"He really set the tone for their team," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "He pitched seven solid innings and kept his pitch count down. He was on a pitch limit of 85 today and after five innings I think he had only thrown 55 pitches. He had a couple of quick innings and they kept chipping away, scoring a run here and there and built up a five-run lead. That gave him a lot of confidence to just go out there and pound the zone.
"It's his best outing so far this fall. You know we've got some freshmen that really have played well in the first three ballgames."
Baxendale, who won the Arkansas Gatorade High School Player of the Year as a senior, said he wasn't surprised with his performance.
"Me and (pitching) Coach (Dave) Jorn have been working a lot lately, just fine-tuning all my mechanics and stuff," said Baxendale, who retired 12 straight batters at one point. "It all came together. My last couple of outings had been a little shaky. I was learning how to get everything situated and how to use my body with the wind-up."
Even after throwing 83 pitches Baxendale showed little fatigue. He struck out three of the final five batters he faced.
"I don't know if I was throwing harder, but I felt looser," Baxendale said of the later innings. "I was able to stay loose and throw strikes."
While Baxendale and closer Derrick Bleeker were busy keeping the opposition off the base pads, Brett Eibner was doing good work offensively for the Black team. The junior had his best game of the series thus far with a 3-for-4 effort, driving in two runs and scoring a run of his own.
Countering for the Cardinal squad was third baseman Zack Cox, who went 2-for-3 and drew a walk. Cox – who had one strikeout on the day – had a combined five strikeouts in the first two games of the series.
"Cox has been swinging it well all fall," Van Horn said. "He ran into some left-handed pitching and got into a little bit of slump, and he busted out today, so that was good."
The Black team took the lead in the second inning with a pair of runs. The first came on a Drew Smyly single to plate Travis Sample, and Smyly later scored on an RBI single by Collin Kuhn. Smyly, the Game 2 starting pitcher, was the designated hitter in the early part of Game 3 for the Black team. Sample reached on his third double in as many games.
The Black team went on to score one run in each of the fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth innings.
While the offense couldn't back him up, Sam Murphy had a solid outing for the Cardinal team. The junior went 4.2 innings, but allowed the game's only three earned runs. He struck out three batters. The Cardinal team was haunted on the afternoon by five errors, including four in the infield.
The Fall World Series will resume Wednesday with a Game 4 tentative first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. Game 1 starters Jason Fuqua (Black) and Geoffrey Davenport (Cardinal) are expected to take the mound again.