FAYETTEVILLE — Ahead of the final Arkansas baseball scrimmage of the fall, Dave Van Horn admitted he was feeling “a little nauseated.”
However, that has nothing to do with the product on the field — even though he watched from the stands as his players combined for six errors in a seven-inning intrasquad scrimmage that ended in a 9-9 tie.
“Anything that happened after the fourth inning, I don’t remember,” Van Horn told reporters. “Because my daughter and my son-in-law came down and told me that my daughter’s not going to have one — I don’t have any grandkids — and probably not going to have two. There may be more. … So I’m kind of freaked out right now, I’ll be honest with you.”
That bit of news probably kept the veteran coach’s mind occupied for the back half Game 1 of Arkansas’ annual Fall World Series. By then, though, he had already seen a couple of pop ups fall in the infield and two infielder’s collide on another one in shallow right-center.
Although it might be a little alarming to see in the box score, Van Horn laughed it off afterward and described the outing as abnormal, as the team has actually played really good defense much of the fall.
“Today was about as ugly as I’ve ever seen,” Van Horn said with a laugh.
Alas, that performance is behind them and the Razorbacks will conclude their fall practices with a winner-take-all Game 2 at noon Tuesday. They originally announced it’d be a best-of-three series with Game 3 scheduled for Thursday, but that scrimmage will not take place.
Best of Arkansas Sports is at Baum-Walker Stadium for Tuesday’s finale and will provide live updates below…
LIVE UPDATES — 2023 Fall World Series, Game 2
Starting Lineups for Arkansas Baseball
|Cardinal Team||White Team|
|1. Ryder Helfrick – C||1. Will Edmunson – CF|
|2. Peyton Holt – 3B||2. Ben McLaughlin – 1B|
|3. Wehiwa Aloy – SS||3. Jayson Jones – 3B|
|4. Hudson White – 2B||4. Kendall Diggs – RF|
|5. Jack Wagner – 1B||5. Jared Sprague-Lott – SS|
|6. Reese Robinett – RF||6. Parker Rowland – C|
|7. Hunter Grimes – LF||7. Hudson Polk – LF|
|8. Ty Wilmsmeyer – CF||8. Nolan Souza – 2B|
|9. Kade Smith – DH||9. Ty Waid – DH|
|Pitching: Fr. RHP Tate McGuire||Pitching: Fr. LHP Colin Fisher|
T-1st: Cardinal 0, White 0
Colin Fisher opened the scrimmage by striking out Ryder Helfrick on three pitches. Peyton Holt followed by working the count full and drawing a one-out walk. Fisher bounced back with a strikeout of Aloy, but a passed ball moved Holt into scoring position with two outs. White smoked a line drive that would have given him an RBI, but it was right to third base and Jones snagged it to end the inning.
B-1st: White 2, Cardinal 0
Tate McGuire started the bottom half of the first exactly like Fisher – by striking out Will Edmunson and then walking Ben McLaughlin. Jayson Jones looked at strike three for the second out of the inning. With two outs and in a 3-1 count, Kendall Diggs crushed a two-run home run off the Hunt Center beyond the right field wall. It left the bat at 109 mph and 20.6 degrees, resulting in a 412-foot blast. Jared Sprague-Lott followed with a single up the middle. That was all the damage, though, as Parker Rowland hit a slow roller up the middle and into the shift. Aloy fielded it and took it to second himself for the final out.
T-2nd: White 2, Cardinal 2
Jack Wagner started Game 2 the same way he ended Game 1, by launching a home run. This one was a 394-foot blast to left-center. It had a 98 mph exit velocity and 28.7-degree launch angle. Fisher bounced back by striking out Robinett. Hunter Grimes represents the tying run in scoring position after hitting a double to left. Sure enough, Ty Wilmsmeyer delivered an RBI single. It looked like there might be a play at the plate, as Grimes didn’t get a great jump, but Diggs’ throw to the plate was up the line and he slid in safely.
Kade Smith walked, prompting a mound visit and bringing up the top of the order. The visit seemed to help, as Fisher responded by striking out Helfrick. However, Holt walked to load the bases and bring up Aloy. After a mound visit from Tygart (who is serving as the pitching coach), Fisher got Aloy to look at strike three and leave the bases loaded.
B-2nd: White 4, Cardinal 2
Hudson Polk squared to bunt on the first pitch of the bottom of the second, but missed and ended up walking by taking the next four pitches. He then swiped second – albeit with some help. Helfrick made a good throw, but Aloy couldn’t quite handle it. McGuire bounced back with back-to-back strikeouts of Nolan Souza and Ty Waid, but with two outs, Edmunson delivered an RBI single. He took second on the throw home, which proved to be big because McLaughlin smoked a chopper that got by the second baseman for an RBI single. That was all the damage, as Jones went down swinging.
T-3rd: White 4, Cardinal 2
Sophomore right-hander Ben Bybee is now pitching for the White team. The ball is carrying today. White started the third with a deep fly ball to center that didn’t look like it was going to travel as far. Wagner followed with a fly out to almost the exact same spot. Robinett tried to check his swing, but couldn’t. His strikeout ends a perfect 1-2-3 frame for Bybee.
B-3rd: White 4, Cardinal 2
Freshman left-hander Jack Smith is now pitching for the Cardinal team. He walked Diggs to start his outing, but then retired the next three. Sprague-Lott flied out to right before Rowland hit a sinking line drive to center that Wilmsmeyer made a diving catch on. Polk struck out to end the inning.
T-4th: White 4, Cardinal 4
Bybee started the fourth by striking out Grimes, but Wilmsmeyer followed with a single and Kade Smith tied it up with a 430-foot blast. Bybee bounced back by striking out Helfrick and getting Aloy to ground out to short, sandwiched around an infield single by Holt. Holt was stranded on second because the throw on his hit got past the first baseman.
B-4th: White 4, Cardinal 4
Redshirt freshman left-hander Jordan Huskey is now pitching for the Cardinal team. He gave up a leadoff single to Souza, but got Waid to look at strike three and appeared to get out of it by getting Edmunson to ground into a 4-6-3 double play, but he was called safe at first. Watching from the stands, Dave Van Horn thought it was a double play. Edmunson eventually stole second and McLaughlin walked, but Huskey got out of the jam by inducing a pop up from Jones.
T-5th: Cardinal 5, White 4
Bybee struck out White and got Wagner to ground out to second, but with two outs, Robinett gave the Cardinal its first lead of the day with a line drive home run over the right field wall. It had a 106 mph exit velocity. Grimes grounded out to third to end the inning.
B-5th: Cardinal 5, White 4
Back out for a second inning of work, Huskey mowed down the White team in order. He struck out Diggs and Rowland sandwiched around a Sprague-Lott fly out to center. It was an efficient frame for the Greenbrier High product.
T-6th: Cardinal 5, White 4
Freshman right-hander Diego Ramos came in to pitch the sixth inning. Wilmsmeyer grounded out back to him, but Ramos almost threw it away. Kade Smith then flied out to center and Helfrick grounded out to second, giving Ramos a 1-2-3 frame.
B-6th: Cardinal 5, White 4
Back out for a third inning of work, Huskey worked around a one-out walk of Souza. He got some help from his defense, as Polk started the inning with a ground ball to the hole at short, but Aloy got to it, made a jump throw and Wagner made a swipe tag when the throw took him off the bag, getting the out. After the walk, Waid struck out and Edmunson grounded out to short.
T-7th: Cardinal 8, White 4
Now pitching for the White team is freshman left-hander Tucker Holland. The first batter he faced was Holt, who gave it a ride, but his fly ball was caught just in front of the wall in right. Aloy then shot a single through the left side and Holland issued back-to-back walks to White and Wagner. With the bases loaded, Robinett provided the Cardinal with some insurance by hitting a two-run double to right. Grimes added another with an RBI ground out. The inning ended when Wilmsmeyer was called out on strikes on a pitch seven inches outside the zone. (The umpire is trying to speed this up.)
B-7th: Cardinal 8, White 8
Junior Jake Faherty, the flame-throwing right-hander, comes in to try to close it out. He promptly plunked McLaughlin to give White a leadoff base runner. Jones followed with a double to right-center that had a 106 mph exit velocity. With runners on second and third, Diggs hit a fly ball to shallow right. It looked like it might be trouble, but Aloy came in and caught it. He also made a strong throw home to keep McLaughlin from trying to tag up on the play.
A wild pitch eventually did bring in McLaughlin and moved Jones to third. Sprague-Lott walked to put runners on the corners and bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Rowland. He brought them all home with a three-run shot off the Hunt Center. It was a 379-foot homer with a 105 mph exit velocity.
Faherty bounced back by striking out Polk, who looked at strike three. Souza then flied out to center. We’re headed to extras.
T-8th: Cardinal 9, White 8
We have international tie-breaker rules for the eighth inning. Wilmsmeyer started on second base with no outs. Kade Smith tried to bunt him over and popped it up between the plate and the mound, landing on the grass. Rowland went out to field it and get the out at first, leaving home unoccupied. Wilmsmeyer came all the way around to score. Helfrick struck out and Holt flied out to right to end the inning.
B-8th: Cardinal 9, White 8
Freshman right-hander Jaewoo Cho is now pitching for the Cardinal. A wild pitch moved Souza, who started the inning at second, to third. Cho struck out Waid and Edmunson, though, eliminating the threat of a sacrifice fly. He got Edmunson on a bunch of off-speed stuff that was 75-77 mph. McLaughlin flied out to right to end the inning. Cardinal wins Arkansas baseball’s Fall World Series.
FINAL – Cardinal 9, White 8
Arkansas Baseball Fall World Series Game 2 Box Score
Game 1 Tidbits
Perhaps the highlight of Game 1 of Arkansas baseball’s 2023 Fall World Series was the performance of right-hander Gabe Gaeckle. The heralded freshman got the start for the White team and pitched three solid innings.
Although he allowed six base runners — four hits and two walks — Gaeckle limited the damage to only one run while striking out four. His velocity was down from its usual 96-97 mph, but still in the 90s and he threw strikes. It was a nice way to end the fall for a guy who Van Horn said was nervous in his earlier outings.
“I think he just needed to relax a little bit,” Van Horn said. “It doesn’t matter where you played in high school, it’s still different. You’re facing kids that can hit up and down the lineup. He’s had to work to get outs.”
Offensively, Jack Wagner provided the scrimmage’s lone home run with a solo shot in an 0-2 count in the sixth inning. That capped a 3-for-4 day at the plate in which he tallied two RBIs for the Cardinal team.
Another encouraging performance came from the bat of Ryder Helfrick, who went 2 for 4 with three RBIs. He’s had a very productive fall and is battling for the starting job at catcher.
Van Horn described him as a “serious freshman” and said he has a chance to be an everyday player for the Razorbacks in 2024.
“He’s a kid we were worried about getting to school,” Van Horn said. “When he got here, we were like ‘Wow, this is special.’”
Arkansas Baseball Fall World Series – Game 1 Box Score
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