Andy Wilkins, Zack Cox and Jarrod McKinney all had two hits and scored two runs as the Razorbacks won their 16th consecutive season-opener.
"You're always concerned about coming out and playing well the first game in front of the home fans and I thought we answered that question pretty early," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. "The first inning we got a couple of sac flies and I think we scored three runs on no hits and they didn't make an error. We took advantage of everything they gave us and overall it was a good ballgame for us today.
"We played very well. That's a good team over there. They haven't been outside much this preseason but they're solid."
Senior pitcher Mike Bolsinger picked up the win for Arkansas. Starting his first game in nearly 11 months, Bolsinger went five innings, allowing just one run on four hits and struck out six batters.
It was the first time Bolsinger has won as a starter since his freshman season at Grayson Community College in 2007.
"I was more nervous today than I was going to Omaha," Bolsinger said. "I was just pacing back-and-forth before the game and I called my mom before the game and said, ‘Mom, I don't want to mess this thing up.' It's hard to believe I was more nervous than I was in Omaha, but I really was; it was my first start this year and you get to opening day and there's a little bit of pressure put on you. I liked it and it's finally here. I'm glad with the way the team played and how I pitched today.
"I'm smiling a little because this is my first win as a starter here. I'll probably be smiling for a little bit longer because you've got to take it all in. It's really cool."
Also cool was the run support the Razorback offense gave the pitcher early on. Arkansas' first three hitters McKinney, Bo Bigham and Cox reached base and scored in the first inning to give the Razorbacks a 3-0 lead all without recording a single hit.
"They walked us a little bit in that first inning and we took advantage of it," Cox said. "That's what good teams do; when other teams walk you, you've got to take advantage of it and that's what we did tonight.
"When you come out opening day after being on the field only three times and you get 10 runs, 13 hits and no errors, you've got to be satisfied. They'll be a better team tomorrow because they haven't been on the field either but we've got to bring the intensity every day just like we did today – 55 more times."
Arkansas (1-0) added three more runs in the fifth inning as Cox, Wilkins and Monk Kreder all singled and scored to begin the inning to build a 6-1 lead.
Ball State (0-1) cut that lead to 6-2 on a Ryan Chenoweth RBI double a half-inning later but could get no closer. The Razorbacks added one in the bottom of the sixth, two in the seventh and a Wilkins solo home run in the eighth.
TJ Forrest pitched four innings of relief to earn the save for the Razorbacks. Starter Brad Piatt picked up the loss for Ball State, going three innings, allowing three runs on three hits and four walks.
"I think opening day went real well," Wilkins said. "Offensively we had a great approach and executed our approach really well…and I think we played real good defense. It was good all around."
The teams will play again Saturday with the first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. Left-hander Geoffrey Davenport will get the starting nod for Arkansas while right-hander Cal Bowling will take the mound for the Cardinals.
Arkansas first baseman Andy Wilkins (right) is met at home plate by Travis Sample at home plate after hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning of the Razorbacks' 10-2 win over Ball State Friday.
Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox slides home safely on a sac fly to give the Razorbacks a 3-0 lead over Ball State in the first inning of Friday's game.
Arkansas right fielder Jarrod McKinney goes for a ball during the Razorbacks' game with Ball State Friday.
Arkansas redshirt sophomore Tim Carver fields a ground ball during the Razorbacks' season-opener with Ball State Friday. Carver filled in for Bo Bigham at second base after Bigham left with a shoulder injury in the third inning.
Arkansas pitcher Mike Bolsinger delivers a pitch against Ball State Friday. Bolsinger earned his first win as a starter for the Razorbacks.
Photos by Marc F. Henning