Arkansas uses 7-run 4th inning to beat NJIT 13-8 in regional

Christian Franklin, Cayden Wallace and Cullen Smith each hit a home run in Arkansas’ seven-run fourth inning and the Razorbacks beat NJIT 13-8 at the double-elimination Fayetteville Regional

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Christian Franklin, Cayden Wallace and Cullen Smith each hit a home run in Arkansas’ seven-run fourth inning and the Razorbacks beat NJIT 13-8 on Friday night at the double-elimination Fayetteville Regional.

Kevin Kopps (11-0) came on with two one and two out in the fourth and pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings to earn the win. He has allowed just six runs in 68 2/3 innings, and has 10 saves, this season.

Braydon Webb hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Jalen Battles hit a solo shot in the fifth for Arkansas (47-10).

The No. 1 overall seed Razorbacks have win nine straight games.

Franklin hit a home run down the left-field line to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Robert Moore struck out, Charlie Welch singled, Casey Optiz walked and Battles was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Webb walked on four consecutive pitches. Optiz scored on a sacrifice fly by Goodheart before Wallace and Smith hit back-to-back home runs to make it 9-3.

Albert Choi led off the game with a shot to left field and Kevin Blum walked and later scored on an error in the second before Blum battled through a nine-pitch at-bat to draw a bases-loaded walk in the top of the third to give NJIT (26-23) a 3-0 lead.

The Highlanders, who started the season 3-12 before rallying to make their first NCAA Tournament at the Division I level, had their program-best nine-game win streak snapped. NJIT was 2-0 in the America East Tournament when bad weather forced the tournament to end early. As the only unbeaten team remaining, the Highlanders were awarded the conference’s automatic bid.

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More NCAA baseball tournament coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/college-world-series

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