FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas baseball team did a little bit of everything in the third inning Sunday afternoon.
By the time the dust settled, the Razorbacks sent 14 batters to the plate and nine came around to score, setting the tone in a 15-6 win that completed a sweep of Louisiana Tech at Baum-Walker Stadium and extended their winning streak to eight games.
Included in that nine-run outburst, which flipped a 3-1 deficit into a 10-3 lead, were two home runs, a team cycle and a trio of bases-loaded walks.
“I was just impressed by the hitters,” Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn said. “They weren’t getting a lot of hits, but they weren’t going out of the zone, weren’t chasing too much and just kept fighting.”
Louisiana Tech actually jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second, but Arkansas manufactured a run in the home half of that inning before putting the game away with the nine-spot that included seven two-out runs.
“Not many teams are going to survive a nine-spot that’s for sure,” Louisiana Tech baseball coach Lane Burroughs said. “I have been doing this for 27 years and I don’t think I have ever survived one of those.”
Tavian Josenberger sparked the inning with a leadoff double into the right field corner and scored on Jared Wegner’s two-run home run. The 372-foot blast was the Creighton transfer’s team-leading seventh long ball of the season and tied the game.
After a two-out walk by Jace Bohrofen, Kendall Diggs hit a two-run home run of his own. His traveled an estimated 344 feet and gave Arkansas the lead. He’s right behind Wegner with six homers this season.
Peyton Holt followed with a triple, which chased starter Reed Smith. At that point, the Bulldogs turned to their top reliever so far this season, Landon Tomkins. The right-hander entered the day with an impressive 0.71 ERA and 0.95 WHIP while walking only three batters in 12 2/3 innings.
By the time he left the mound, those numbers looked much different. It was a disastrous outing for Tomkins, as he walked all five batters he faced — the last three of which came with the bases loaded. Only three of his 23 pitches were strikes and one of them was a pity strike in a 3-0 count that actually missed the zone.
The third pitcher of the inning was Ryan Harland and his first pitch did five the strike zone, but Brady Slavens ripped it into center for a two-run double to cap the big inning.
“Obviously their line up is long and physical,” Burroughs said. “If they swing the bats like that, they are going to be hard to beat and will make a run in the SEC, for sure.”
In three games against Louisiana Tech, the preseason favorites to win Conference USA, Arkansas hit .323/.460/.625 with seven home runs, averaged 9.3 runs and had nearly twice as many free passes (27 — 24 walks, 3 HBP) than strikeouts (14).
Hunter Hollan Battles Adversity Again
The first inning has been problematic for Hunter Hollan this season, but it wasn’t until the second that things got hairy for the left-hander Sunday.
After breezing through the opening frame on just 13 pitches with the help of a double play, Hollan plunked Walker Burchfield in a 1-2 count to start what proved to be a disastrous inning.
A wild pitch moved him to second and then he advanced to third on a ground out. It seemed like he would be cut down at the plate when he took off on a ground ball to third, but Peyton Holt’s throw was high and wide. The error allowed a run to score and took an out off the board.
Hollan gave up a hit to Ethan Bates and then plunked Louisiana Tech’s 8- and 9-hole hitters, the latter of which came with the bases loaded and scored a run. That proved to be the last batter to reach against Hollan, as he retired the final 11 batters he faced, but a ground out by Adarius Myers brought in another run.
Only one of the three runs were earned, though, and even though he had to throw 29 pitches, Hollan got through the inning without allowing any more damage. He struck out Jonathan Hogart to strand runners on second and third.
“For him to fight through that, that was big for us,” Van Horn said. “We felt like three runs, that wasn’t going to be an issue. We were going to score more runs, it was just a matter of when. We just didn’t need to be down five or six runs.”
The second time through Louisiana Tech’s lineup, Hollan struck out five of nine batters and didn’t allow a single one to reach. He also retired the two batters he faced a third time, including one via a strikeout — his seventh of the game.
Despite being at just 77 total pitches through five innings, Van Horn turned to his bullpen in the sixth. Hollan was officially charged with three runs, only one earned, on two hits, no walks and three hit by pitches.
Through four starts this season, the left-hander has a 2.18 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with 21 strikeouts to only six walks in 20 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting just .216 against him.
Tough Luck for Cody Adcock
His final line may indicate it was another bad outing for Cody Adcock, but Dave Van Horn sounded encouraged by the right-hander’s performance Sunday.
As the first guy out of the bullpen, Adcock gave up three runs — two of which were earned — on two hits and one walk in two innings of work.
Dalton Davis reached on an infield single in the first at bat against Adcock, but it was a play that third baseman Peyton Holt could have made. After a strikeout, Adcock got a tailor-made double play ball, but second baseman Peyton Stovall booted it an everybody was safe.
A double play can’t be assumed, which is why he was still charged with two earned runs on Karson Evans’ ensuing three-run homer, but in reality, Adcock shouldn’t have allowed those runs.
“I thought Cody threw the ball good,” Van Horn said. “I mean, it was as good as he’s thrown it. The fastball, he was spotting it. He jammed a couple of guys with his fastball. He threw it away from them. He threw a couple of good breaking balls.”
Van Horn wasn’t even particularly upset about the home run, either, because it was pretty severely wind-aided.
“That was an inside fastball and the guy hit it foul and it blew back,” Van Horn said. “It blew back 25 feet. It was amazing. … We could see it really good from our dugout, how that thing blew back.”
He was also pleased with how well Adcock shook off the error and still gave the Razorbacks two innings.
Freshman Arms Get Opportunity
With a large lead, the Razorbacks were able to throw a pair of freshmen in Sunday’s win over Louisiana Tech.
First up was right-hander Gage Wood. It’s been an up-and-down season for the Batesville native and this was an “up,” as he worked around a one-out single by striking out the other three batters in the inning.
In the ninth, right-hander Christian Foutch made his collegiate debut and was impressive. He struck out the first batter he faced, induced a pop up behind the plate and, after a two-out walk, ended the game with a fly out to center.
It was an impressive debut for the Colorado native, who’s known for his splitter, but also has good velocity. He consistently threw his fastball 94 mph and even touched 95 on Sunday.
“Really liked what I saw from the two freshmen there at the end,” Van Horn said. “They threw with some conviction, some velocity, had good secondary pitches. We’re going to need those guys this week against UNLV and probably the rest of the season.”
Up Next for Arkansas Baseball
Before jumping into SEC play with a home series against Auburn next weekend, the Razorbacks have two more non-conference tuneups in the form of a midweek series against UNLV.
The Hustlin’ Rebels are 5-8 this season, having lost six of their last seven, and didn’t play at all this weekend because their series at Cal Poly was rained out.
Other Arkansas Baseball Tidbits
- The Razorbacks’ leadoff batter reached in four of eight innings Sunday, which was actually the worst rate of the series. It reached six times Friday and seven times Saturday, meaning Arkansas had a leadoff base runner in 17 of 24 innings this weekend.
- With the homers by Jared Wegner and Kendall Diggs in the third inning, Arkansas has now had a multi-homer inning in four straight games.
- In addition to the home run, Wegner also walked five times, tying a single-game school record set by Jim Kremers against Northwest Missouri State in 1985 and matched by Jake Dugger against Alabama in 2006. In fact, he swung the bat just twice all game, fouling off a 3-1 pitch in the first inning and homering in the third.
- His home run also extended Wegner’s hitting streak to eight games and increased his batting average back to .400. During his current streak, he is 12 for 30 (.400) with five home runs.
- Despite his seven-game hitting streak coming to an end with an 0 for 4 performance, Peyton Stovall still managed to notch three RBIs in Game 3. He drew a bases-loaded walk, drove in a run on a fielder’s choice ground ball and had a sacrifice fly. The last time an Arkansas player had three RBIs without a hit was exactly 10 years earlier when Tyler Spoon did it again Alabama A&M in 2013.
- Former Arkansas baseball player Ethan Bates, a Hot Springs native, did not have a great weekend for Louisiana Tech. He went 1 for 11 with a single, walk and four strikeouts (including three on Sunday), plus gave up two earned runs on four hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings.
Arkansas vs Louisiana Tech Highlights (Game 3)
Arkansas vs Louisiana Tech Postgame Interviews
Arkansas vs Louisiana Tech Box Score (Game 3)
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