By the Associated Press
WACO — Logan Vick homered twice and Trent Blank scattered seven hits over eight innings and Baylor beat Arkansas 8-1 on Saturday in the opener of their super regional series.
The Bears (49-15) can earn their first trip to the College World Series since 2005 with a win over the Razorbacks (42-20) on Sunday.
Josh Ludy added a home run, while Max Muncy and Cal Towey each had two doubles and a single as Baylor racked up 12 hits against three Arkansas pitchers.
Blank (11-1) held the predominantly right-handed Razorbacks in check by running his sinker in and throwing his slider away.
“Trent was really good, and we played well behind him,” Baylor coach Steve Smith said. “Towey and (shortstop Jake) Miller on the left side of the infield made a couple tough plays.”
Miller came up with the game’s biggest defensive play with one out in the second when he fielded Bo Bigham’s shot to short and made a perfect throw to third to get Dominic Ficociello trying to advance and end a rally.
The Bears gave Blank an early lead when Razorbacks starter DJ Baxendale (7-5) hit Nathan Orf — the leadoff hitter’s school-record 35th hit by pitch this season — and Vick followed with a two-run homer.
Ludy added insurance in the third with his team-high 16th homer. Muncy and Towey followed with doubles off the wall in right to make it 4-0.
“I made a lot of mistakes that Baylor took big-time advantage of,” Baxendale said. “But they’re a great-hitting team and I feel like they hit a lot of good, solid pitches. They did a good job of battling on two-strike pitches. They got on top of the plate and took away the outside pitch.”
Vick’s two-out homer in the fourth made him only the second Baylor player to homer twice in an NCAA tournament game, and the first to do it in a super regional game. Steve Macko hit a pair against New Orleans in a regional game in 1977.
“I’m a line-drive hitter,” said Vick, who is hitting .349 but had only two homers all season before a two-run shot in the first inning and a solo shot in the fourth. “That’s been my approach all season. Today I think I just got the ball up a little bit and made solid contact, and they just happened to leave the yard.”
Dominic Ficociello, who had three of the Razorbacks’ seven hits off Blank, ended the shutout bid with an RBI double in the sixth inning.
“Baylor just kind of took it to us a little bit today,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “They came out and punched in two with that home run and we got behind. Then they got two more and we knew it was going to be tough.”