FAYETTEVILLE - For a team with a new look, Arkansas was awfully familiar Friday afternoon.

FAYETTEVILLE - For a team with a new look, Arkansas was awfully familiar Friday afternoon.

Dominic Taccolini was efficient. Zach Jackson was sharp. Hitters not named Andrew Benintendi did enough.

It probably was not a dream start to the Arkansas baseball regular season. By the end, though, the largest opening-day crowd in Baum Stadium history had a chance to explode and the Razorbacks left them happy, winning 6-1.

Jake Arledge’s three-run triple turned into an entire trip around the bases in the eighth inning. As he slid into third, the throw from the Central Michigan second baseman went awry and into the Arkansas dugout. Arledge trotted home and a tenuous advantage became cavernous.

Little to that point was sexy. It was just enough.

Arledge had just replaced starting left fielder Luke Bonfield as a defensive substitution in the top half of the inning. His triple knocked in Cody Scroggins and Rick Nomura to make the lead five.

It was classic small-ball. The runs came up to that point came on single, a groundout and a wild pitch. Arkansas bunted four times. There were zero extra-base hits until Arledge’s. And there was still a win.

That was largely because of Taccolini and Jackson.

Taccolini, in his first start since the Southeastern Conference Tournament, allowed just one hit, one walk and one run in seven innings on 79 pitches. He struck out three of the 23 batters he faced. Eleven of the 21 outs he recorded came on groundballs.

"Looked awfully good today," Van Horn said of his pitcher. "I always kid him now that he’s got that rib removed he’s going to throw 95. I don’t know if it makes it sink anymore, but I know that he feels very healthy."

Taccolini went up to 92 miles-per-hour on Baum Stadium’s new scoreboard radar display. Mostly he sat in the high 80s, though, relying on the heavy sinker. Taccolini could end up the team’s ace and Friday starter through the SEC season if that continues. He missed everything after the SEC Tournament last year when it was discovered he had a blood clot and his rib needed removal.

Friday night was his best game since at least that long ago.

"It was great t being out their opening day, a lot of emotions especially with me being injured last year," he said. "I just threw a bunch of strikes and let my defense work. My fast ball was working so (pitching coach Dave Jorn) just kept calling it and we got ahead of hitters and got some quick outs and that allowed me to go in the game."

New-look Baum Stadium’s actual attendance was 8,542, a record for Opening Day. They saw Van Horn use eight players who were not part of the team last year, including redshirts. Three players entered as pinch-runners. Arledge was a defensive replacement. Kacey Murphy and Doug Willey, two of the new eight, finished off the ninth by striking out the side.

Taccolini left with only a slight edge as Arkansas couldn’t build on its one-run lead at the time despite runners at first and second with no outs in the seventh. A Michael Bernal sacrifice bunt made it second and third with one out before Tucker Pennell’s dribbler to third ended with Darien Simms being thrown out at the plate and Austin Catron being left at second. Eric Cole’s groundout ended the inning a batter later.

Jackson had to hold a one-run lead with two innings left to pitch.

The preseason All-American picked up where he left off last year. Jackson struck out the first batter of the inning and forced a double-play ball to short to get through the eighth.

His teammates caught fire in response. Arkansas batted around in the bottom of the eighth, scoring four runs on two hits with two Central Michigan errors.

"Obviously we were planning on bringing (Jackson) back out there in the ninth then we scored four, five, whatever it was, we felt like we needed to get the left-hander some experinece with the two lefties and go with a right-hander in there in Willey. It worked out," Van Horn said.

Cullen Gassaway knocked in the game’s first run with an RBI single in the first to score freshman Eric Cole. Another Gassaway RBI, a groundout in the sixth, scored Cole again to the break a 1-1 tie after Logan Regnier’s evened things in the second inning.

Cole went 2 for 5 in his debut, scoring the two runs. Carson Shaddy joined him with two hits, 2-3, with a walk, as well. Jack Benninghoff and Cody Scroggins each scored runs after entering as pinch-runners.

"The weather just threw it over the top. Instead of getting five or six thousand we got 9,000," Van Horn said. "There are some guys that wore this uniform for the first time today, I think they’re in awe to be honest with you. It was really neat to see."

Game 2 in the series is Saturday at 12:04 p.m. and Game 3 Sunday at 2:04.

Follow Eric on Twitter: @ericwbolin

College Baseball


Arkansas 6, Central Michigan 1

Central Michigan 010 000 000 - 1 2 3

Arkansas 100 001 04X - 6 8 0

Renzi, Aldred (7), Gamble (8) and Greenman and Kratt. Taccolini, Jackson (8), Murphy (9), Willey (9) and Pennell. W - Taccolini (1-0). L - Renzi (0-1).