OMAHA, Neb. — DJ Baxendale and Brandon Moore combined on a four-hitter, Jake Wise homered for the first time since February and Arkansas defeated Kent State 8-1 on Saturday to spoil the Golden Flashes’ first appearance in the College World Series.
Baxendale didn’t allow a hit until Sawyer Polen’s infield single with two out in the fifth. He held the Flashes (46-19) scoreless until Jimmy Rider homered in the sixth.
Arkansas (45-20) broke open the game on Matt Vinson’s two-run double that made it 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth.
Baxendale (8-5) allowed just three hits, giving way to Moore with one out in the seventh. He struck out five and walked one.
Kent State starter David Starn (11-4) walked three of the first four batters he faced and left after Vinson’s two-out double in the sixth.
Kent State is the first team from the Mid-American Conference to make it to the CWS since Eastern Michigan in 1976.
Wearing their old-school gray uniforms with high socks, the Flashes struggled early against a Razorbacks team that was last in Omaha in 2009.
Arkansas was up 2-0 by the time the Flashes had their first hit. Rider’s homer down the left-field line cut the Hogs’ lead to 3-1 in the sixth.
The Flashes looked like they could draw closer in the seventh after Baxendale walked Nick Hamilton to put runners on first and second with one out. Moore came on to get a groundout and flyout to end the threat. Moore worked the last 2⅔ innings for his third save.
ARIZONA 4, FLORIDA STATE 3
Florida State lost another opener at Omaha, and coach Mike Martin said no one deserved blame.
He gave all credit to Arizona, which won 4-3 Friday night on Johnny Field’s RBI double in the top of the 12th inning.
The Seminoles have lost four CWS openers in a row since last winning one in 1999.
Arizona (44-17), which has won 14 of 16 games, plays UCLA today in a meeting of Pac-12 co-champions. The Seminoles (48-16) meet Stony Brook in an elimination game today.