In front of a capacity crowd at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock last week, Arkansas beat Memphis, 2-0, as Kacey Murphy pitched a gem.
Murphy, who played in high school at Rogers Heritage, didn’t allow a hit through 6.1 innings and saw his record stay perfect ad go to 4-0. He threw seven strikeouts in the win.
A sophomore, Murphy came out to the mound for the eighth inning, but was pulled for reliever Josh Alberius. Murphy came out of the game to cheers and tipped his hat to the crowd.
Alberius went six up and six down in his two innings to get the save. He completed the game with a called strikeout.
Murphy lost his no-hitter bid in the top of the seventh inning, when Memphis’s Chris Carrier hit a dribbler down the third base line and then beat out the throw to first on a stretch play where the ump called Carrier safe. The shutout was saved when Carrier got caught in a rundown and was tagged out.
That led to some jibber jabber between Carrier and the Arkansas players coming off the field but it was all talk, no action.
Arkansas didn’t have any trouble getting hits early while the Hogs got on base easily, scoring runs was another matter as the Razorbacks didn’t get a run until the bottom of the fifth inning when Chad Spanberger hit a towering two-run shot to right field, that gave Arkansas the 2-0 lead that they wouldn’ relinquish. Arkansas finished the game with six hits, and also reached base on a Memphis error.
With the win, Arkansas improves to 31-8, while Memphis falls to 21-17.
The Razorbacks are the No. 14 team in the country by the USA Today Coaches Poll, beat Memphis at Fayetteville on Tuesday night, 16-7.
Arkansas currently leads the SEC West with an 11-4 record and will travel to Auburn, Ala., for a three-game conference series that starts on Friday and concludes on Sunday against the Auburn Tigers.
The trip to North Little Rock was a return home for senior catcher Alex Gosser, who starred at North Little Rock High School before going to the Razorbacks.
Gosser drew the start behind the plate, his fifth of the season, and when his name was announced, it drew a loud ovation from the crowd.
Gosser is one of seven Arkansas Razorbacks on the roster who played at central Arkansas high schools. Alberius, who played at Little Rock Christian, came out in the eighth inning in relief.
This is the third time Arkansas has faced Memphis in North Little Rock since 2011.