The Texarkana baseball team put on a hitting clinic Tuesday afternoon at Taylor Field.
The Razorbacks pounded out 16 hits, including seven in the second inning, en route to a 19-3 five-inning win over the Pine Bluff Zebras in the 7A/6A-South Conference opener for both teams.
“We didn’t play well,” Pine Bluff coach Ryan Stinson said. “I don’t know what else you can say.
“We need to play better to compete in our league.”
Texarkana (5-1, 1-0) jumped out early against Pine Bluff starting pitcher Jordan O’Guinn.
Hayden Phillips led off the game with a walk. He stole second before Steven Boyce was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base.
A sacrifice bunt by Braden Warner advanced the runners, and Brayden Ward clocked a 3-0 pitch over the left-centerfield wall to give Texarkana a 3-0 lead.
“We got to get ahead,” Stinson said of his pitchers. “We gave them a lot of hitter’s counts. We need to be able to throw strikes to get ahead. …
“When you get behind in the count and your breaking pitch isn’t working, their guys are going to be sitting dead red.”
Pine Bluff (4-2, 0-1) looked to claw its way back in the home half of the first.
Adam Graham drew a leadoff walk and promptly stole second base. Braylon Jones popped out to starting pitcher Hunter McGilberry while attempting to bunt.
Kacy Higgins coaxed a full-count walk to put two on for cleanup hitter O’Guinn.
The sophomore ripped a single between the third baseman and shortstop allowing Graham to score. Higgins, though, got caught in between third and second.
The sophomore was tagged out during the rundown to slow the Zebras’ momentum.
“It was a simple baserunning error,” Stinson said of the play. “Nothing more you can really say.”
Even after the play, back-to-back singles from Jaylon Deshazier and Gealander Harris III brought pinch-runner Brandon Little in to pull Pine Bluff within 3-2.
Despite having gotten within one run, things came unglued for the Zebras in the second inning.
In the frame, Texarkana sent 15 batters to the plate. When the dust had settled, the Razorbacks had scored 10 runs on seven hits and two errors.
O’Guinn walked McGilberry to open the inning. The junior stole second base, and Phillips followed with the second Texarkana home run of the game to chase O’Guinn.
Xavier Smith came on in relief but did not fare any better.
The freshman allowed eight runs (three earned) on six hits with three walks in just one inning.
Texarkana carried the 13-2 lead into the top of the fifth. After being shutout two straight innings, the Razorbacks busted out for six runs in the frame highlighted by four straight hits from Phillips, Boyce, Warner and Ward.
Pine Bluff scratched across a run in the bottom of the fifth, but it wasn’t nearly enough to extend the game.
“They were hitting the ball well, too,” Stinson said. “But we can’t make mental and physical errors like we made.
“We need to stay focused.”
The Zebras will play Junction City in the Los Toritos Spring Break Tournament in Star City. The game is scheduled to start att 7 p.m. on Thursday.
“Every win and every loss is a learning experience, because we’re so young,” Stinson said. “I know I’d tell you that almost every day, but it’s true.
“Hopefully our guys will take something away from this game.”