LIVE UPDATES: After Close Opener, Arkansas vs James Madison Continues with Game 2

Brady Tygart, Arkansas baseball, Arkansas vs James Madison
photo credit: Arkansas Athletics

FAYETTEVILLE — They eventually pulled out the win, but the Razorbacks had to sweat it out a bit in the Arkansas vs James Madison opener.

After falling behind 3-0 before recording an out, Arkansas rallied and hung on for a 6-4 win over the Dukes to begin the 2024 season. It wasn’t alone in playing a closer-than-expected game on Opening Day, though.

In fact, the Razorbacks were one of 10 SEC teams that won their first game by four or fewer runs and only one of those games – Tennessee’s 6-2 win over Texas Tech – was against a fellow high-major program.

Vanderbilt scored three runs in the ninth to walk-off FAU, Ole Miss needed 13 innings to beat Hawaii, LSU trailed VMI until the sixth inning, Mississippi State didn’t take the lead for good against Air Force until the seventh and Missouri hung on for a 3-1 win to salvage a doubleheader split.

Florida wasn’t so lucky. A consensus top-four team, the Gators fell behind early and couldn’t dig out of the deficit before falling to St. John’s 9-5.

The Razorbacks are thankful to have avoided that fate, but are probably hoping for a more comfortable win in the second game of the Arkansas vs James Madison series.

They’ll send right-hander Brady Tygart to the mound to start Game 2. He posted a 2.37 ERA and 0.84 WHIP with 21 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .141 batting average and .538 OPS in 19 innings across six starts last season after his injury.

Follow along below for inning-by-inning updates, highlights and stats from Saturday’s game…

LIVE UPDATES – Arkansas vs James Madison (Game 2)

Pregame Tidbits

James Madison starter Max Kuhle pitched only 7 2/3 innings in six appearances as a true freshman last year. The left-hander had a 7.04 ERA and 1.57 WHIP with the same number of strikeouts (5) as walks (5). He also had three wild pitches and hit a batter.

There are a couple of changes in Arkansas’ lineup. Ryder Helfrick is catching, which moved Hudson White to designated hitter and took Jack Wagner out of the lineup. Will Edmunson, who came in as a defensive replacement in Game 1, is starting in left field over Jayson Jones.

T-1st: Arkansas 0, James Madison 0

  • In a 1-1 count, Dunaway was hit in the head by a 92 mph pitch. Luckily he is okay and is able to stay in the game.
  • Mancini followed with a perfect bunt. Sprague-Lott charged in and made a nice play to get the out at first, but the sacrifice moved Dunaway into scoring position for Trimble.
    • For some reason, Dunaway tried to steal third despite Trimble – who went 3 for 4 on Friday and is JMU’s best player – being up to bat. Helfrick’s throw was high and wide, but Sprague-Lott managed to catch it and still get the tag down. 2 outs.
  • Trimble hit a grounder up the middle, but Holt got to it with a slide and threw to first for the out. It was a tough play, but he made it look easy. It was an 11-pitch inning for Tygart.

B-1st: Arkansas 0, James Madison 0

  • On the second pitch of the home half of the first, White popped out to short. 1 out.
  • Diggs followed with a five-pitch walk to give Arkansas a base runner.
  • In a full count, Aloy took strike three. The crowd didn’t like the call, but TrackMan showed it was a strike. 2 outs.
  • McLaughlin hit a high fly ball caught by the shortstop in shallow center to end the inning.


  • Dooley ripped a sharp grounder toward shortstop and the ball deflected off Aloy’s glove and into center. It’s a play he might have been able to make, but it did take a tough hop and it was hit hard (100 mph exit velo), so it’s ruled a single.
  • Much like the first inning, the next batter – Calabrese – laid down a nice bunt and Sprague-Lott again made a nice play to get the out at first. The sacrifice moved Dooley into scoring position.
  • O’Donnell followed with what was essentially a swinging bunt. Sprague-Lott again fielded it and threw to first for an out. McLaughlin made a nice scoop to complete the play. This time the runner stayed put. 2 outs.
  • Steinberg hit a slow bouncer to short and Aloy charged it and made a strong throw to first to end the inning. Tygart is at 23 pitches through two innings.

B-2nd: Arkansas 0, James Madison 0

  • James Madison opens the bottom of the second with a web gem. Helfrick hit a fly ball down the right field line in foul territory and the right fielder, O’Donnell, made a sliding grab for the out.
  • Holt followed by hitting an opposite-field single into right.
  • Edmunson hit another fly ball down the right field line and this time O’Donnell tracked it down in fair territory, near the corner. Holt hustled back to first and tagged up on the play. As good as he looked making those catches, O’Donnell didn’t exactly show off a strong arm.
  • Holt was stranded in scoring position, though, as Sprague-Lott went down looking. Kuhle has thrown 30 pitches for JMU.

T-3rd: Arkansas 0, James Madison 0

  • Schiavone came up swinging and flied out to right on the first pitch. 1 out.
  • Tygart’s first strikeout of the day comes on three pitches against Peifer. He swung through a changeup. 2 outs.
  • In a full count, Dunaway is hit by a pitch in the head AGAIN. This time it was a curveball.
  • He is stranded on first because Mancini looked at strike three to end the inning. Tygart has thrown 38 pitches through three innings.

B-3rd: Arkansas 1, James Madison 0

  • Arkansas gets on the board with a leadoff opposite-field home run by Ty Wilmsmeyer. He hit it in a 1-0 count and it left the bat with a 100 mph exit velocity and 25.1 degree launch angle, allowing it to travel 369 feet.
  • White followed with a check swing that made contact and resulted in an easy catch by the third baseman. 1 out.
  • Diggs went down looking. 2 outs.
  • Just as he did in his first at bat, Aloy also struck out looking. All four strikeouts by Kuhle have been looking. He’s at 46 pitches.

T-4th: Arkansas 1, James Madison 1

  • Tygart wins his second battle with Trimble, getting him to fly out to center in a 1-0 count. 1 out.
  • Dooley followed with a single to left. Edmunson did a nice job of getting to it and making a strong throw in, ensuring it wouldn’t turn into a double.
  • Calabrese was hit by the first pitch of the ensuing AB, putting runners on first and second.
  • O’Donnell hit a high pop up that looked like it might give the infield problems. Helfrick certainly had a hard time finding it, but Sprague-Lott came running in and made the catch. 2 outs.
  • After a first-pitch strike, Steinberg took four straight balls to walk and load the bases.
  • A first-pitch ball to Schiavone prompted a mound visit from pitching coach Matt Hobbs. It didn’t help, as he still ended up walking him to bring in a run and tied it up.
  • Tygart got up 0-2 against Peifer and, after a couple of balls, got him to swing and miss at a changeup. That strands the bases loaded.

B-4th: Arkansas 5, James Madison 1

  • McLaughlin opened the bottom of the fourth by striking out swinging. 1 out.
  • Helfrick’s first collegiate hit is a go-ahead solo home run. It traveled 367 feet and had a 105 mph exit velocity and 19.3 degree launch angle.
  • Holt hit a grounder to short and Dunaway booted it. He reaches on an E6 and that’s it for JMU’s starter. Right-hander Sean Culkin is the new pitcher.
  • Edmunson hit a single up the middle that deflected off the shortstop’s glove making a diving effort. That allowed Holt to go first to third.
  • Sprague-Lott roped a single that was just out of the reach of the shortstop, who again made a diving effort but didn’t really have a chance to catch it. It’s an RBI that makes it 3-1 and Edmunson went first to third.
  • Wilmsmeyer looped a single into left for another RBI single.
    • During White’s at bat, Culkin spun and tried a pickoff at second. The second baseman whiffed on the catch, though. The E4 allowed the runners to move up to second and third.
  • White walked on four pitches to load the bases and that’s it for Culkin. The new pitcher is left-hander Jaden Kinsler.
  • Kinsler promptly walked Diggs on four pitches to bring in another run.
  • With the bases still loaded, and despite the new pitcher throwing four straight balls to the previous batter, Aloy swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

T-5th: Arkansas 5, James Madison 1

  • Tygart is still on the mound in the fifth. He got Jack Cannizzaro – who entered as a defensive replacement last inning – to look at strike three. 1 out.
  • Mancini hit a fly ball to left and Edmunson easily made the catch. 2 outs.
  • Holy cow. What a catch by Wilmsmeyer. It looked like Trimble had another homer, but he Missouri transfer jumped and snagged it. Trimble even tipped his hat as he rounded second.

B-5th: Arkansas 7, James Madison 1

  • McLaughlin poked one the other way and it looped just over the third baseman’s head for a leadoff single.
  • Helfrick was nearly hit by a pitch, but instead, it completes a four-pitch walk. That puts runners on first and second.
  • Holt pops out in foul territory, caught by the first baseman. 1 out.
  • Edmunson gave it a ride, but the left fielder was able run over and catch the line drive just in front of the fence. 2 outs.
  • In a full count, Sprague-Lott drew a walk to load the bases.
  • With two outs, Wilmsmeyer delivers again. He rips a single up the middle and drives in two. Sprague-Lott goes first to third on the play.
  • That brought up the top of the order in White, who walked on five pitches to load the bases loaded again.
  • Diggs ends the inning by grounding out to first.

T-6th: Arkansas 7, James Madison 5

  • Left-hander Parker Coil is now pitching for Arkansas, replacing Tygart.
    • Tygart’s final line: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 3 HBP, 78 pitches (43 strikes)
  • Dooley came up swinging and hit a single up the middle on Coil’s first pitch. He’s 3 for 3 and has all three of JMU’s hits.
  • Calabrese followed with a chopper that bounced over Sprague-Lott’s head for another single.
  • Coil bounced back by striking out O’Donnell. 1 out.
  • JMU dialed up a hit-and-run and it was perfectly executed, as Steinberg hit a chopper right where Holt had been before running to cover second. It resulted in an RBI and Calabrese went first to third on the play.
  • Schiavone followed with a walk to load the bases.
  • Peifer laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to bring in another run. 2 outs.
  • Cannizzaro followed with a single into center to drive in two more runs and it’s suddenly a two-run game. That’s it for Coil. The new pitcher is right-hander Koty Frank.
  • Frank got out of it in two pitches, getting Mancini to fly out to shallow center.
    • Coil’s final line: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 24 pitches (14 strikes)

B-6th: Arkansas 13, James Madison 5

  • Now pitching for James Madison: left-hander T.R. Williams. He is one of the Dukes’ top pitchers.
  • Aloy drew a leadoff walk on five pitches.
  • McLaughlin ripped a single up the middle (106 mph exit velo) and Aloy went first to third.
  • Helfrick was HBP to load the bases and prompt a mound visit by JMU.
  • Holt delivers an RBI single. The bases are still loaded and that’s it for Williams.
    • The new pitcher for the Dukes is right-hander Matt Kleinfelter.
  • Edmunson put the ball in play, but it was a grounder to third and JMU was able to throw home for a force. 1 out.
  • In a full count, Sprague-Lott drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in another run.
  • Wilmsmeyer finally made an out, but his grounder to second wasn’t hit hard enough for JMU to turn two. He beat the throw at first to give him an RBI fielder’s choice.
  • White followed with a double down the third base line. It went into the left field corner, easily scoring Edmunson, and Wilmsmeyer turned on the jets to score from first. That gives White two RBIs. That’s it for Kleinfelter.
    • The new pitcher for JMU is right-hander Griffin Madden.
  • In a 3-1 count, Diggs hit a ball that got through the right side for an RBI single. The right fielder booted it and the E9 allowed him to take second on the play.
  • The inning finally comes to an end when Aloy popped out in foul territory, caught by the first baseman.

T-7th: Arkansas 13, James Madison 5

  • Trimble lined out to center to start the inning. He’s 0 for 4 after his big game yesterday, but did have a home run robbed. 1 out.
  • Dooley also lined out to center. 2 outs.
  • Calabrese grounded out third to end the inning. That’s four up, four down by Frank.

B-7th: Arkansas 13, James Madison 5

  • Now pitching for JMU is right-hander TJ Brooks.
  • McLaughlin drew a full-count walk to start the inning.
  • Helfrick erased the base runner by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. 2 outs.
  • Holt grounded out to short to end the inning.

T-8th: Arkansas 13, James Madison 5

  • Ike Schmidley pinch hit for O’Donnell to start the eighth and flied out to right. 1 out.
  • Steinberg struck out swinging. 2 outs.
  • Schiavone popped out to first to end the inning. That’s seven up, seven down for Frank, who’s thrown 33 pitches.

B-8th: Arkansas 15, James Madison 5

  • Right-hander Jackson Hull is now pitching for JMU.
  • Edmunson his HBP in a 3-0 count, giving Arkansas a leadoff base runner for the fourth straight inning.
  • Sprague-Lott is called out on strikes on a pitch out of the zone. 1 out.
  • Wilmsmeyer flies out to center. 2 outs.
  • White hit another double down the left field line, putting the winning runs in scoring position. (The run-rule is in effect.)
  • Diggs walked to load the bases.
  • Aloy delivered the walk-off hit with a two-run single.

FINAL: Arkansas 15, James Madison 5 (8 innings)

Starting Lineups

James Madison BaseballArkansas Baseball
1. Mason Dunaway – SS1. Hudson White – DH
2. Mike Mancini – 2B2. Kendall Diggs – RF
3. Fenwick Trimble – CF3. Wehiwa Aloy – SS
4. Ryan Dooley – LF4. Ben McLaughlin – 1B
5. Coleman Calabrese – 1B5. Ryder Helfrick – C
6. Brendan O’Donnell – RF6. Peyton Holt – 2B
7. Jacob Steinberg – DH7. Will Edmunson – LF
8. Jason Schiavone – C8. Jared Sprague-Lott – 3B
9. Wyatt Peifer – 3B9. Ty Wilmsmeyer – CF
Pitching: LHP Max KuhlePitching: RHP Brady Tygart

How to Watch Arkansas vs James Madison

Date: Saturday, Feb. 17

Location: Baum-Walker Stadium (Fayetteville, Ark.)

TV/Stream: SEC Network-Plus

Odds/Betting Line:

Opening Day Scores Around SEC Baseball

  • Vanderbilt 12, FAU 11
  • Kentucky 11, SC Upstate 7
  • LSU 11, VMI 8
  • Georgia 11, UNC Asheville 2
  • South Carolina 5, Miami (OH) 1
  • Cal Poly 3, Missouri 2
  • Mississippi State 8, Air Force 4
  • Alabama 4, Manhattan 0
  • St. John’s 9, Florida 5
  • Texas A&M 15, McNeese State 0
  • Auburn 17, Eastern Kentucky 6
  • Tennessee 6, Texas Tech 2
  • Missouri 3, Cal Poly 1
  • Ole Miss 5, Hawaii 4 (13 inn.)


Here’s our Game 1 recap:

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