FAYETTEVILLE — Despite being on opposite ends of the college baseball spectrum the last several years, getting blown out in the Arkansas vs Alabama series opener is nothing new for the Razorbacks.
In fact, Friday’s 12-1 loss to the Crimson Tide actually wasn’t as bad as what unfolded two years ago, when Arkansas opened SEC play with a 16-1 shellacking at the hands of Alabama at Baum-Walker Stadium.
There are similarities between the two blowouts, though. In 2021, it was the Razorbacks’ third straight loss after losing their finale at Louisiana Tech and dropping a midweek game against Oklahoma. This year, it was their third straight SEC loss. However, the three losses – which include two at No. 1 LSU – were by a combined 30 runs.
So it’s not a perfect comparison, but Arkansas certainly hopes for a similar result. It bounced back from the 15-run loss two years ago with back-to-back wins to win the first of its 10 straight SEC series that season.
As always, Best of Arkansas Sports will bring you live, inning-by-inning updates from Baum-Walker Stadium throughout the Arkansas vs Alabama series…
LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs Alabama
Right-hander Will McEntire is on the mound for Arkansas and looking for a bounce back performance of his own after struggling last week at LSU. He has a 5.23 ERA in 31 innings this year.
Alabama is going with right-hander Luke Holman, who has a 2.25 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 24 innings this season.
Dave Van Horn has made one change to the lineup, subbing in freshman Reese Robinett for the struggling Brady Slavens, who went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts Friday night.
It’s also worth noting that Parker Rowland is still behind the dish after starting Game 1. He and Hudson Polk had been rotating on a pretty regular basis.
T-1st: Arkansas 0, Alabama 0
One pitch, one out for McEntire, as Shelton grounded out to second on the first pitch of the game. He then struck out Hodo and looked like he would get a 1-2-3 frame, but Pinckney’s grounder was so slow that even a hard-charging Bolton couldn’t make the play quick enough. It’s a two-out infield single. It didn’t matter, though, as McEntire struck out Williamson to end the inning. He threw 14 pitches.
B-1st: Arkansas 0, Alabama 0
An eight-pitch at bat by Josenberger ended when he flied out to deep center, with the center fielder catching it right at the wall. It was a good start, but the Razorbacks couldn’t do much after that. Holman needed only seven more pitches to get Stovall to pop out to short and Wegner to strike out. It was a 15-pitch first inning.
T-2nd: Alabama 1, Arkansas 0
Alabama struck first. After a ground out to short by Johnson, Jarvis crushed a solo home run 421 feet to right. McEntire bounced back by getting Tamez to ground out to third and Hamiter to ground out to second. He’s up to 30 pitches through two innings.
B-2nd: Alabama 1, Arkansas 0
Arkansas simply can’t catch any breaks. After a leadoff walk by Bohrofen, Diggs hit a scorcher back up the middle with a 103 mph exit velocity, but Alabama was aligned perfectly and Jarvis was able to turn a 6-3 double play rather easily. Cali then crushed a line drive to left, with a 110 mph exit velocity, but the left fielder was able to catch it at the track for the final out. That capped an 11-pitch inning for Holman, who’s at 26 pitches.
T-3rd: Alabama 1, Arkansas 0
Seidl opened the third inning with a line drive to left that hit the wall on one hop. He ended up being stranded there, but it was close. After a fly out to left by Shelton, Hodo ripped a line drive that landed very close to the foul line in right. It was called foul and stood upon replay review. Instead of an RBI double, he ended up striking out and then Pinckney flied out to right to end the inning. McEntire is at 45 pitches through three innings.
B-3rd: Alabama 1, Arkansas 0
Holman mowed down the Razorbacks in order, striking out Robinett, Rowland and Bolton. The last two were looking. He’s at 39 pitches through three innings.
T-4th: Alabama 4, Arkansas 0
After getting Williamson to hit a little dribbler back to him for the first out, McEntire gave up three straight solid hits – a single by Johnson, a double by Jarvis and an RBI single by Tamez. That prompted a mound visit by Matt Hobbs. His very next pitch was over the catcher’s head for a run-scoring wild pitch. He ended up giving up an RBI double to Hamiter and that’s it for him.
The new pitcher for Arkansas is right-hander Dylan Carter. He got out of it with no further damage by striking out Seidl and getting Shelton to line out to first.
B-4th: Alabama 4, Arkansas 3
The no-hitter is over after Josenberger ripped a double through the right side that had an exit velocity of 100 mph. Stovall followed with a pop up to shallow left that the shortstop caught and Wegner struck out. With two outs, Bohrofen drew a walk, which prompted a mound visit by Alabama.
Holman was a strike away from getting out of it, but Diggs crushed his 2-2 pitch to dead center for a 420-foot, three-run homer. Cali nearly tied it up, but pulled a deep shot well foul and ended up grounding out to end the inning.
T-5th: Alabama 4, Arkansas 3
Carter is still on the mound for Arkansas. He struck out Hodo, who looked at strike three, and then got Pinckney to ground out to third before Williamson found a hole on the left side. Bolton got to it, but he had no chance to make the play at first, so it’s an infield single. Johnson walked and then Jarvis nearly hit his second homer of the game, but Josenberger ran back, leaped and robbed him of the long ball.
B-5th: Alabama 4, Arkansas 3
Just as they did in the third inning, Robinett, Rowland and Bolton went down in order and each of them struck out. That means the bottom third of Arkansas’ lineup is 0 for 6 with six strikeouts today. Holman is at 75 pitches through five innings.
T-6th: Alabama 4, Arkansas 3
Tamez led off the sixth inning with a single, but then got doubled up when Josenberger tracked down Hamiter’s shot to the right-center gap. He took off running on contact and didn’t stop until nearly to third, so he was toast. After the double play, Seidl laid down a perfect bunt single. That was it for Carter.
The new pitcher for Arkansas is right-hander Cody Adcock. Seidl swiped second on the pitch that made it a full count, but it didn’t matter because Shelton struck out to end the inning.
B-6th: Alabama 4, Arkansas 4
Josenberger hit a high pop up in the infield and the third baseman looked like he had it all under control – until he didn’t. It fell to the ground without him getting a glove on it, resulting in a leadoff single. Josenberger then swiped second and tagged up to third on Stovall’s fly out to right. That’s it for Holman.
The new pitcher for Alabama is freshman right-hander Riley Quick. He walked Wegner on four pitches and the first strike he threw was a first-pitch single through the right side by Bohrofen. It’s an RBI single that ties it up and Wegner went first-to-third on the play. Diggs got called out on strikes, but strike three was out of the zone, according to TrackMan. Cali ended the threat by grounding out to short, stranding the go-ahead run on third.
T-7th: Alabama 5, Arkansas 4
Now pitching for Arkansas: sophomore left-hander Hagen Smith. Brady Slavens has also replaced Robinett at first base.
He struck out Hodo – who now has a golden sombrero – but then gave up a solo home run to Pinckney that put Alabama back on top. Williamson and Johnson followed with bloop singles that found grass in left. Jarvis flied out to left for the second out, but Tamez was HBP on the first pitch he saw to load the bases. That brought up Hamiter, who flied out to right to strand them loaded.
B-7th: Arkansas 6, Alabama 5
In his first at bat since entering the game as a defensive replacement, Slavens went the other way with a first-pitch single through the left side. Rowland followed with a walk. Bolton squared to bunt, but Quick’s first pitch missed the zone and that’s it for him.
The new pitcher is freshman right-hander Kade Woods. He inherited a 1-0 count, the tying run in scoring position and the go-ahead run on base. After fouling off the first pitch, Bolton laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third.
That’s when the craziness started. Josenberger appeared to take strike three, but the pitch was called a ball. Brad Bohannon lost his mind over the call, first yelling from the dugout, then taking a step out of the dugout and then, after being ejected, got up in the umpire’s faces and got his money’s worth. He had a point – it should have been strike three, according to TrackMan.
As he finally left the field, he mocked the crowd and threw his arms up in a mock Hog Call. Before he even got fully into the dugout, Josenberger ripped a double into the right field corner that scored two and put the Hogs on top. Stovall then struck out, which should have ended the inning had Josenberger been called out on strikes.
Wegner followed with a chopper up the middle and was going to reach on a single, but Josenberger tried to score when the shortstop bobbled the ball. He was gunned down at the plate, which prompted an argument from Van Horn. It was reviewed and the call stood.
T-8th: Arkansas 6, Alabama 6
The lead didn’t last long. Smith gave up a leadoff single to Seidl, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a ground out. After an intentional walk by Pinckney, Williamson doubled to tie it up and put runners on second and third. However, they were stranded when pinch hitter Bryce Eblin grounded out to second.
B-8th: Arkansas 9, Alabama 6
It didn’t stay tied for long either. Bohrofen, in an 0-2 count, crushed a line drive off the Hunt Center for a solo bomb to put Arkansas back on top. After a walk by Diggs, Cali gave Arkansas some breathing room with a 450-foot, two-run blast into the Hog Pen. That prompted a pitching change.
The new pitcher is right-hander Zane Probst. He got Slavens to line out, but it was a 100 mph line drive right at the first baseman. Rowland followed with a line drive single to right, but he was caught stealing on a strike ’em out, throw ’em out with Harold Coll at the plate. He pinch hit for Bolton.
T-9th: Arkansas 9, Alabama 6
Jarvis grounded out to first to start the inning. Smith covered the bag for the out. Mac Guscette, who entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh, then struck out. Hamiter struck out looking to end it.
FINAL: Arkansas 9, Alabama 6
BOX SCORE – Arkansas vs Alabama
Starting Lineups — Arkansas vs Alabama (Game 2)
|Alabama Baseball||Arkansas Baseball|
|1. Colby Shelton – 3B||1. Tavian Josenberger – CF|
|2. Will Hodo – DH||2. Peyton Stovall – 2B|
|3. Andrew Pinckney – CF||3. Jared Wegner – LF|
|4. Drew Williamson – 1B||4. Jace Bohrofen – RF|
|5. Ed Johnson – 2B||5. Kendall Diggs – DH|
|6. Jim Jarvis – SS||6. Caleb Cali – 3B|
|7. Dominic Tamez – c||7. Reese Robinett – 1B|
|8. William Hamiter – RF||8. Parker Rowland – C|
|9. Tommy Seidl – LF||9. John Bolton – SS|
|Pitching: So. RHP Luke Holman||Pitching: R-Jr. RHP Will McEntire|
Baseball Schedule This Week
Tuesday — Arkansas 16, Omaha 3 (7 innings)
Friday — Alabama 12, Arkansas 1
Saturday — vs Alabama — 2 p.m. CT (SECN+)
Sunday — vs Alabama — 2 p.m. CT (SEC Network)
Accountability Check — 2023 Arkansas Baseball Predictions
Best of Arkansas Sports managing editor Andrew Hutchinson published his week-by-week predictions for the 2023 season just before the Razorbacks opened the year at the College Baseball Showdown. Those predictions can be read in full here, but we’ll also be doing weekly “accountability checks” in this space.
Prediction: 1-0 in the midweek / 19-6 overall, 4-2 in SEC play
The Mavericks have a preseason All-American in Caleb Riedel, but Arkansas likely won’t see him because he’s a weekend starter and this is a single midweek game. They’re picked third in the seven-team Summit League — a conference traditionally dominated by Oral Roberts. This should be a relatively easy matchup compared to some of the others on Arkansas’ schedule.
Actual: 1-0 in the midweek / 21-4 overall, 4-2 in SEC play
As predicted, Tuesday was a relatively easy win. The Razorbacks scored their first six runs without an RBI hit and cruised to a seven-inning run rule. They are still a couple wins ahead of our predictions thanks to winning more than we expected during the non-conference portion of the schedule.
More coverage of Arkansas baseball from BoAS…