Nobody said it would be easy, and Friday night proved it. Timely hitting and solid defense lifted the University of Arkansas baseball team to a 3-2 victory over Liberty in their first game of the NCAA Charlottesville Regional.
Brian Anderson provided an offensive punch that included a home run, two hits, a walk and two RBI in the win. Chris Oliver (9-4) got the win and Michael Gunn and Jacob Stone were solid in relief as Arkansas moves to 39-23 on the year. The Razorbacks face host Virginia at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Liberty scored first in the top of the second inning after Arkansas starter Chris Oliver hit two batters, the second with the bases loaded, making it 1-0 Flames. Oliver still had the bases loaded and struck out the next two hitters to end the inning.
The lead didn’t last long. Brian Anderson tied the game blasting a home run over the right field fence to lead off the bottom of the second. It was Anderson’s seventh home run of the season.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Anderson gave the Hogs a 2-1 lead, singling to left field and scoring Joe Serrano. Andrew Benintendi scored a few batters later, making it 3-1, thanks to a Bobby Wernes sacrifice grounder.
The Razorbacks allow the Flames a second run in the top of the fifth but Oliver, who battled back all night, did it again getting a fly ball and line drive to end the threat and preserve the 3-2 lead heading to the bottom of the fifth inning.
Liberty threatened again in the top of the ninth inning getting the leadoff man on but Jacob Stone shut the door on the Flames to give the Hogs the win.