Molina leads Arkansas to win

Molina leads Arkansas to win

ARLINGTON, Texas – Mason Molina spun five no-hit innings with a season-high 10 strikeout to lead No. 2 Arkansas (5-2) to a 4-3 win against Michigan (2-5) on Sunday afternoon in the Kubota College Baseball Series finale at Globe Life Field.

Thanks to their two-win showing over the weekend in Arlington, Texas, the Razorbacks are off to a 5-2 start or better through their first seven games of the campaign for the 22nd consecutive season under head coach Dave Van Horn.

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Molina, who was making his return to the state of Texas for the first time since transferring to Arkansas from Texas Tech during the offseason, did not allow a hit and struck out 10 over his five scoreless frames against the Wolverines. The left-hander, who issued one walk and hit a batter, extended the scoreless innings streak by Razorback starting pitchers with his strong performance on the mound.

Since allowing two runs against James Madison on Feb. 18, Arkansas starters Colin Fisher (six scoreless against JMU on Feb. 19), Hagen Smith (six scoreless vs. No. 7 Oregon State on Feb. 23), Brady Tygart (six scoreless vs. Oklahoma State on Feb. 24) and Molina (five scoreless vs. Michigan on Feb. 25) have combined for 22 consecutive shutout innings.

Overall, Molina’s dominant outing in the Hogs’ finale at Globe Life Field capped what was a historic weekend of legendary performances by the Arkansas pitching staff. Razorback pitchers allowed just six earned runs on 19 hits over 31.1 innings of work in Arlington, striking out 59 in total while walking only 10 across three games.

Arkansas recorded a school-record 23 strikeouts in their 5-4 win over Oregon State on Friday night before breaking that record with a 25-strikeout effort during their 2-1 loss in 14 innings to Oklahoma State on Saturday. Individually, Smith stole the show with his program record-tying 17 strikeouts against the nationally ranked Beavers.

In Sunday’s win against Michigan, Ben McLaughlin’s RBI double in the top of the first gave Molina and the Razorbacks an early advantage. The Arkansas offense brought home two more runs in the fourth inning when Will Edmunson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded before Kendall Diggs’ bases-loaded walk extended the Hogs’ lead to 3-0.

Arkansas pushed its lead to four in the top of the seventh inning, scoring a run on a throwing error by the Wolverines.

Molina departed the game after 81 pitches over five no-hit innings of work, turning the ball over to Will McEntire, who carried the no-hitter into the seventh. A two-out double by Michigan’s Cole Caruso in the bottom of the frame broke up the Hogs’ nine-inning combined no-hitter bid, which they last accomplished against Oklahoma State on Feb. 11, 2006..

Michigan would score its first run of the ballgame in the eighth before tacking on two more in the ninth, taking advantage of multiple Arkansas defensive miscues. The Razorbacks committed four errors in the game, their most since committing four against UAPB on April 14, 2021.

Koty Frank, however, overcame the defensive lapses to lock down Arkansas’ 4-3 win. The veteran right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) and struck out one to secure his second save of the season.

The Razorbacks return to action inside the friendly confines of Baum-Walker Stadium on Tuesday. First pitch between Arkansas and Grambling is scheduled for 3 p.m. on SEC Network+.

For complete coverage of Arkansas baseball, follow the Hogs on Twitter (@RazorbackBSB), Instagram (@RazorbackBSB) and Facebook (Arkansas Razorback Baseball).

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Craig Hall
Publisher, writer, photographer and teacher.