Arkansas cruises to opening day victory over Bucknell

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The third-ranked Razorback Baseball team used plenty of offense and got a strong start from junior Blaine Knight to cruise past Bucknell, 14-2, Friday afternoon at Baum Stadium.

Knight, who was making his second straight Opening Day start, didn’t give up a hit over five innings while walking only two and striking out four. The Bryant, Arkansas native only needed 67 pitches to make it five innings as he went three up and three down over his final three innings of work.

With Friday being Knight’s second Opening Day start in a row, it was also his third year to be part of the starting rotation on Opening Weekend. Combined over the last three years, Knight has struck out 12 batters in 14 innings, while allowing just two runs and walking two in his first starts to a season.

At the plate, freshman Heston Kjerstad led all Razorback hitters as he went 3-for-4 with a double and a single, all in his first three at-bats. His first collegiate hit also helped Arkansas score its first run of the season, singling with two outs through the right side in the first to score Jax Biggers. It was part of a four-run inning that helped kick-start the offense and was only the beginning of the big showing by the bats.

Arkansas plated 14 runs on 12 hits in the game. It was the largest run output by an Arkansas team on Opening Day since 2001 when it brought 25 runs across against Missouri Southern. The lineup also drew 15 walks in the game to frustrate the Bucknell pitching staff.

Along with Kjerstad, Eric Cole earned his first multi-hit performance of the season, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Senior Carson Shaddy provided the lone big fly of the afternoon as his second inning home run brought three runs, part of a six-run frame to break the game wide open at 10-0.

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