FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Sophomore infielder Jack Kenley hit for the cycle Wednesday afternoon at Baum Stadium, going 4-for-5 at the plate to help lead the Cardinal team to a 13-0 win over the Gray team in game one of the 2017 Fall World Series.
Kenley started off his day with a basic single in the second inning where he later scored on a Brady Disher home run. After flying out in the fourth inning, Kenley hit a three-run home run in the fifth, an RBI triple in the seventh, and an RBI double in the eighth to finish off the four-hit, five-RBI game.
“I was probably one of the last people to realize I was getting close to the cycle,” Kenley said after the game. “Jake Arledge mentioned to me, ‘If you get anywhere near it, you push and try to get a double.’ It was exciting. As soon as I saw it hit the barrel, I was pumped. I’m just trying to make my swings as simple as I can, make things easy and have fun.”
Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn knew that this kind of performance was possible out of Kenley going back to last year. Even with his offense, Van Horn noted that Kenley’s defense was top notch also.
“He had a great ballgame,” Van Horn said. “Offensively, he hit for the cycle, but he also made tremendous plays in the field. He’s one of the most improved players on the team from when he walked in here a year ago. We already know he can play an outstanding third base, so we’ve been playing him a lot at short this fall. The bat is starting to come on too and the biggest thing is he’s a lot more confident.”
Along with Kenley’s outburst, the Cardinal offense put up 13 runs on 15 hits, leaving just five men on base. Five players had two hits or more and only one player didn’t reach base at least once.
The Cardinal team also hit three homers in the game. Along with Kenley and Disher, freshman Casey Opitz went deep in the fifth inning to cap a 2-for-3 day with three RBI and two runs scored.
On the mound, sophomore left-hander Evan Lee threw six scoreless innings with three hits allowed, one walk, and four strikeouts. He retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up a lead-off single to junior Jax Biggers in the top of the fourth inning.
The Cardinal bullpen of redshirt freshman Jackson Rutledge, freshman Zebulon Vermillion, and sophomore Jacob Kostyshock combined to just give up one hit and one walk over the final three innings.
The Gray team struggled to get the bats going all game, totaling just four hits and two walks. Biggers led all Team Gray hitters with two singles. Zack Plunkett and Ben McClain both added a hit also.
Game two of the Razorback Fall World Series is set for Friday at Baum Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. Junior Blaine Knight is set to take the mound for Team Cardinal, while junior Jake Reindl will throw for Team Gray.
All games of the Fall World Series are open and free to the public.
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