FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn didn’t tell Carson Shaddy of his plans to start the freshman until about 20 minutes before first pitch.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn didn’t tell Carson Shaddy of his plans to start the freshman until about 20 minutes before first pitch.


Good call, skip.


Shaddy went 3 for 3 with his first career double and a pair of runs out of the No. 7-hole in the Razorbacks’ 7-0 win over Eastern Illinois on Tuesday. Arkansas swept the series, including a doubleheader Monday, and next play Loyola Marymount in a set scheduled Friday through Sunday.


Van Horn had called Shaddy an improved player throughout much of the winter, but didn’t list him as a possible starter at his roster-listed position of catcher or at any of his secondary outfield spots. And while the homegrown kid — a Fayetteville High graduate — might not work his way into the lineup every day at one particular spot, it’s a safe bet he’ll get ample opportunity somewhere every day.


"I know Carson’s mom and dad pretty well. I played middle infield with Chris Shaddy, his dad, a long time ago, I won’t mention the year, here," Van Horn said. "I told Holland (Carson’s mother) that. I saw her one day and said ‘You know, Carson’s probably the most improved player on the team. At least one of two.’ And I truly believe that. He’s a little gamer."


Shaddy singled to start the second inning and scored three batters later on a wild pitch. He socked a two-out double in the fourth and scored on Michael Bernal’s single that followed. He walked in the fifth before being stranded at third base and he finished his day with another two-out hit, a single to left in the seventh.


He’s hardly the most intimidating figure in the lineup, checking in at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds. None of his knocks Tuesday was booming. Everything was sprayed and peppered. A 3-for-3 day is still batting 1.000.


Maturity’s helped bring him from afterthought to can’t-remove.


"Just staying calm and not let the game speed up on me. That was my big deal last year. The game was getting too fast for me. Just mainly slowing down," Shaddy said. "I think it mainly just realizing that I could do all this stuff and get it done. Get the job done."


Tuesday was the most successful at the plate of any of Arkansas’ three against Eastern Illinois. The Razorbacks scored eight runs in the nightcap Monday, but collected just five hits. They registered seven runs on nine hits Tuesday and reached base another 10 times on walks.


Sophomore Andrew Benintendi joined Shaddy with a multi-hit day. And like Shaddy this season, Benintendi was the team’s best hitter as a first-year player last year. But through eight games his .200 average this year was lowest among the Diamond Hogs regulars.


He belted a solo home run to start the fifth inning, singled in the first and walked in the sixth.


"Today was hopefully a start of getting out of my slump," Benintendi said. "I came in here today before and got some swings in with (hitting) coach (Tony) Vitello. Hopefully it carries over."


Arkansas scored in four of its first five innings. The Razorbacks had more runs in the first, in fact, than Eastern Illinois had hits in the game.


Keaton McKinney started, threw four innings and gave up just a single. Twice, though, in the first and second, he worked himself into some trouble as the Panthers had runners in scoring position in both frames. He stranded the first with a strikeout and the last two, on second and third, with a flyout.


Relievers Parker Sanburn, Jonah Patten, Lance Phillips, Kyle Pate and Cannon Chadwick finished the final five innings with one apiece. Combined they allowed just one more single, one more walk and struck out seven.


"I don’t mind throwing these guys each for an inning or two," Van Horn said. "I think some of these guys that’s what they feel comfortable doing right now, especially some of these younger guys, new guys to the program. We just don’t want to leave them in too long."


Shaddy lifted his average to .591 with his 3-for-3 day. Only shortstop Michael Bernal, who has just six at-bats, is hitting at a higher clip. And while the freshman may not start again Friday if Tyler Spoon, the man he replaced in right field Tuesday, is back from the sickness that kept him out against Eastern Illinois, figure Van Horn to find a spot, anyway.


"He got three hits. Did a great job for us. Very versatile player," Van Horn said. "Can play outfield, obviously he can catch. Tremendous job for us so far in this young season.