FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.—Keith Christensen tossed a complete game and Perry Smith and Boomer Blanchard hit home runs as ULM defeated No. 5 Arkansas 3-2 Tuesday night in front of 7,568 fans at Baum Stadium.
“This is a big victory for the University and our baseball program,” ULM head coach Jeff Schexnaider said. “It was a Regional type atmosphere at the stadium tonight. Keith is a fifth-year senior and we knew that he could handle that type of situation.”
Christensen (3-2) struck out four Arkansas batters and became the third straight Warhawk (22-12) pitcher to throw a complete game in a mid-week start – Don Williams threw complete games against Southern Miss and Mississippi State.
Blanchard’s seventh home run of the season was the game-winner in the eighth inning off Mike Bolsinger (3-1), who was tagged with the loss. Blachard’s game-winning blast came just minutes after he made a big defensive play to end the Arkansas (24-9) seventh inning. The Razorbacks had the go-ahead run on third base, but Blanchard made a back-handed scoop on a grounder to record the third out.
ULM opened the scoring in the second inning after Matt Collins led off the frame with a double to right field. Matt Laird singled to right-center to put runners on the corners for Jordy Poche, who grounded into a double play allowing Collins to score.
Making just his third start of the season, Bo Bigham gave the Razorbacks a brief 2-1 lead with a two-run home run off the scoreboard in right field in the bottom of the second inning.
Smith, the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Week, tied the game with his second home run of the season in the top of the third inning.
Christensen showed his toughness throughout the game as the Razorbacks threatened with runners in scoring position in five of the last seven innings of the game. Only one of those runners reached third base and that came via a passed ball.
Arkansas starter Brett Eibner lasted just three innings allowing a pair of runs on five hits before being replaced by Sam Murphy after he allowed the first two runners to reach in the fourth inning.
Scott Lyons and Collin Kuhn each had two hits for the Razorbacks, who were ranked No. 1 in the country for the first time in school history last week.
The Warhawks and Razorbacks wrap up the two-game series tomorrow at 3:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 1680 AM in the Monroe area and worldwide on the internet at ulmathletics.com.