Arkansas opens series with shutout of USC

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A Luke Bonfield homer coupled with another strong outing from pitcher Blaine Knight helped the fifth-ranked Razorback baseball team to a 4-0 shutout of the USC Trojans Friday night in Baum Stadium to open the three-game series.

Arkansas (8-2) has won three in a row since coming home from its San Diego road trip and remains undefeated in Baum Stadium this year at 6-0. The loss for USC (7-2) breaks a seven game win streak it had coming into the game as the Hog pitchers handed the Trojans their first shutout of the season.

Bonfield’s homer came in the first inning, a two-run blast that was his second of the year, but turned out to be his only hit of the game. As a team, Arkansas scattered eight hits, six off USC starting pitcher Chris Clark. Seven different Razorbacks recorded at least one hit in the game, but it was Grant Koch who came away with the only multi-hit performance of the day, his first of the year.

On the mound, Knight wasn’t as nearly as dominant as he had shown in recent outings, but was able to work around nine baserunners in six innings to not give up any runs and only allow one walk with four strikeouts on 98 pitches. The win moves his record to 2-0 and drops his ERA to 0.53, his lowest after his first three starts in his career.

Freshman Jackson Rutledge came in to pitch the seventh and shut the door on the Trojans, picking up his first collegiate save. Rutledge gave up one hit over three innings and struck out one on 43 pitches.

The Razorbacks continue their series with USC on Saturday with game two’s first pitch at 2 p.m. at Baum Stadium. The game will be televised on SEC Network+.

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