FAYETTEVILLE — Junior right-hander Jake Reindl outdueled fellow junior right-hander Blaine Knight Friday afternoon to help Team Gray to a 3-0 win over Team Cardinal, evening up the 2017 Razorback Fall World Series at 1-1.
Reindl retired the first eight batters he faced before giving up a hit. He went on to throw a strong 5.2 innings with just two hits allowed, no walks, and two strikeouts on 73 pitches.
The Fayetteville native was Arkansas’ best relief pitcher in conference play last year as he compiled a 0.93 ERA, best in the league, over 29 innings with 34 strikeouts.
“I just had a lot of downward movement today with the sinker,” Reindl said. “I just ran that inside into their hands and most guys got a lot of rollovers. Anytime you can throw very few pitches and get back in the dugout, it helps your team out and keep the momentum going.”
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn knew he was going to get a good performance out of Reindl after what he saw in the first two innings.
“Jake Reindl does what he does when he’s on,” Van Horn said. “He’s got a lot of tremendous movement and a lot of run on his fastball. He uses three different arm slots and just pitches.
“He doesn’t go out there thinking he’s going to strike out an ‘x-number’ of batters. He just wants to get outs. He had a couple of quick innings that almost allowed him to get six full innings in.”
After a dominating 13-0 victory two days ago in game one, Team Cardinal had a good opportunity to take a two game lead with Knight on the mound. However, Knight struggled early, giving up two runs in the first inning and throwing 30 pitches before getting his first three outs of the game.
Jared Gates and Heston Kjerstad both singled with one out before Grant Koch walked to load the bases. Then, Ben McClain hit a high chopper over the third baseman’s head which allowed Gates and Kjerstad to score easily.
In the second inning, a Jax Biggers double down the right field line was the best hit Team Gray got off of Knight. In the next at-bat, Gates singled for his second hit of the day. As Cardinal second baseman Hunter Wilson made the throw to first, the ball went wide, allowing Biggers to score for Team Gray’s third run.
Team Gray only managed five hits in the game, but got 11 men on base, utilizing six walks. Gates finished 2-for-5 with a run scored. McClain had the big swing of the day as he went 1-for-2 at the plate with two RBIs.
For Team Cardinal, sophomore Evan Lee followed up his strong pitching performance from Wednesday to go 2-for-4. Wilson had the only other hit for Team Cardinal.
Knight finished the game with four innings pitched, five hits allowed, two earned runs, two walks, and three strikeouts on 72 pitches.
“The first four hitters for Team Gray squared the ball up pretty good,” Van Horn said. “I think they frustrated Blaine (Knight) a little bit and fouled off a lot of pitches. I was proud of Blaine for bouncing back.
“In those last couple of innings, he was pretty good. He’s had a good fall. We don’t want him to try to throw 98 miles an hour. We just want him to get better, work on his mound presence, and get healthy and stronger for the spring.”
Game three of the Razorback Fall World Series is set for Sunday at Baum Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be a seven-inning game. Freshman Bryce Bonnin is set to take the mound for Team Cardinal, while freshman Caleb Bolden will throw for Team Gray.
All games of the Fall World Series are open and free to the public.
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2017 Fall World Series Schedule
Game 1 – Cardinal 13, Gray 0 (Cardinal leads 1-0)
Game 2 – Gray 3, Cardinal 0 (Series tied 1-1)
Game 3 – Sunday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. (7 inning game)
Game 4 – Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. (if necessary) (7 inning game)
Game 5 – Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 3 p.m. (if necessary) (7 inning game)