FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas pitcher D.J. Baxendale ran into his first jam of the season Friday, opening the fifth inning by allowing consecutive singles.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas pitcher D.J. Baxendale ran into his first jam of the season Friday, opening the fifth inning by allowing consecutive singles.

But it didn’t take long for the junior to remind everyone why he is the Razorbacks’ ace.

Baxendale worked his way out of that fifth-inning jam and pitched well overall in his second start of the season, leading the Razorbacks to a 7-3 win against Valparaiso in front of an announced crowd of 2,613 in Baum Stadium. He wasn’t perfect, but passed his biggest test to date by striking out two straight and retiring the third on a foul pop-up to help the Razorbacks preserve a two-run lead.

“He’s been in those kind of situations many a time coming out of the bullpen as a closer early in his career. And many times in league play,” Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said. “He really hadn’t been challenged yet (this season). We had the lead and that was a big inning for him to get through.”

Baxendale — who cruised through a five-inning stint in the season opener last week — threw 87 pitches Friday night and lasted into the seventh inning. He did see his scoreless innings streak end at 17 2/3 by giving up a solo home run to Valparaiso’s Chris Manning in the third inning, but said it was important to be tested on a cold day.

“Being able to work out of a jam is always a big confidence booster,” Baxendale said. “I just really trusted myself and trusted the guys behind me. I tried to keep attacking the zone. I got ahead of the two hitters back-to-back and was able to punch them out. … Huge confidence booster.”

It’s not as if Baxendale was lacking confidence.

Baxendale went 10-2 with a 1.58 earned run average as a sophomore, pitching well as both a starter and reliever for the Razorbacks. He has been showered with plenty of preseason accolades as well and is regarded as the leader of a strong pitching staff.

Baxendale (2-0) got plenty of help from Arkansas’ offense Friday afternoon, too. The Razorbacks continued a strong start at the plate, scoring six of their seven runs with two outs.

Leadoff hitter Bo Bigham led the way in the first inning, driving in catcher Jake Wise and Tim Carver with a single off Valparaiso starter Tyler Deetjen (0-1). Catcher Jake Wise added two-out RBIs in the third and fifth innings. Carver and outfielder Jimmy Bosco had two-out RBIs in the sixth.

Arkansas scored in five of eight innings Friday.

“Coach always tells us two-out hits kills the other team,” said Bigham, who went 2-for-5 with two RBIs. “We emphasize that. In the dugout we have confidence that the guy that’s up is gong to get a hit and we push it. Two-out hits are big for us and it breaks their back and keeps us rolling.”