LIVE UPDATES: What ESPN’s Snub of Arkansas vs Kentucky Really Means

Jared Sprague-Lott, Arkansas baseball, Arkansas vs Kentucky
photo credit: Arkansas Athletics

To watch the Razorbacks try to clinch the Arkansas vs Kentucky top-10 showdown Saturday afternoon, fans will have to once again log in to their SEC Network-Plus accounts.

All three games between the SEC’s two division leaders – including the 1 p.m. CT first pitch of Game 2 – are scheduled to be available via streaming only, and not on ESPN or any of its family of networks.

Instead, the matchup between No. 1 Texas A&M and unranked LSU (which is in danger of missing the postseason) was simulcast on ESPN2 and SEC Network on Friday and will once again be carried by ESPNU on Saturday. The other televised game on Saturday is Auburn-Ole Miss. The combined record of those two teams is barely over .500 and they’ve combined for just 11 SEC wins, yet they’ll be on SEC Network. That game will also be SEC Network on Sunday.

Naturally, fans took this as a slight toward the Razorbacks – ESPN hates the Hogs, after all – but it’s really a prime example of what’s wrong with the TV scheduling process. All network designations, with the exception of a handful of “wild card” dates, are determined before the season. At that time, no one knew LSU would tank or that neither Auburn nor Ole Miss would be as bad as they are – or that Kentucky would be leading the SEC East entering the weekend.

And there lies the problem. In order to get the best matchups on actual television each week, there needs to be more flexibility. That’s what happens in football, with the best games getting primetime ESPN slots and the worst games getting the worse time slots on SEC Network.

So no, ESPN doesn’t “hate the Hogs” like so many fans believe, but it could stand to alter how it goes about scheduling which SEC baseball games to air.

If you still can’t figure out how to use SEC Network-Plus, or just don’t want to, you can follow along below for some updates from Game 2 of the Arkansas vs Kentucky series…

(READ NEXT: Check out our in-depth recap of Game 1 of the Arkansas vs Kentucky series)

LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs Kentucky (Game 2)

Pregame Tidbits

Kentucky starter Dominic Niman is 7-3 with a 5.00 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. He has 49 strikeouts to only 15 walks in 54 innings, with opponents hitting .257 against him.

T-2nd: Arkansas 2, Kentucky 0

Both teams wasted excellent scoring opportunities in the first, but Arkansas got on the board in the second with a two-run home run by Hudson White – just his second of the season.

B-2nd: Kentucky 3, Arkansas 2

Tygart looked like he’d get out of the second inning unscathed, but a fly ball to left by Pitre hit off the top of the wall when it looked like a play Lovich should make to end the inning. It was a two-run double. Then Burkes followed with an RBI double to give the Wildcats the lead.

B-4th: Kentucky 7, Arkansas 2

After putting the first two runners on with a single and walk, Tygart was pulled and replaced by Gage Wood. The right-hander issued a walk to load the bases and then Pitre drove in two with a double. Burkes followed with an RBI squeeze bunt and Loped singled up the middle for the fourth run of the inning before Wood finally got out of it with a double play.

T-7th: Kentucky 7, Arkansas 2

The Wildcats retired 14 of 15 Razorbacks before a two-out single by Stovall. Sprague-Lott followed with a bunt single and a throwing error by the pitcher moved the runners to second and third. That’s where they were stranded, though, as McLaughlin grounded out to end the inning.

B-8th: Kentucky 11, Arkansas 2

Gage Wood ended up giving the Razorbacks a strong 3 1/3 innings of relief, but was pulled after a one-out HBP in the eighth. He was relieved by right-hander Koty Frank, who promptly plunked a batter and issued a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Frank struck out Burkes, but then gave up a bases-clearing double to Lopez. Daly followed with an RBI single.

T-9th: Kentucky 11, Arkansas 3

White drew a leadoff walk, took second on a defensive indifference, moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on Stovall’s RBI ground out. Sprague-Lott also drew a two-out walk, but that was it for the Hogs.

FINAL – Kentucky 11, Arkansas 3

Starting Lineups

Kentucky BaseballArkansas Baseball
1. Ryan Waldschmidt – LF1. Peyton Stovall – 2B
2. Emilien Pitre – 2B2. Jared Sprague-Lott – 3B
3. Devin Burkes – C3. Ben McLaughlin – 1B
4. Nick Lopez – DH4. Wehiwa Aloy – SS
5. Mitchell Daly – 3B5. Kendall Diggs – RF
6. Ryan Nicholson – 1B6. Peyton Holt – CF
7. Nolan McCarthy – CF7. Nolan Souza – DH
8. James McCoy – RF8. Hudson White – C
9. Grant Smith – SS9. Ross Lovich – LF
Pitching: LHP Dominic NimanPitching: RHP Brady Tygart

How to Watch Arkansas vs Kentucky (Game 2)

Date: Saturday, May 4

Location: Kentucky Proud Park (Lexington, Ky.)

First Pitch: 1 p.m. CT

TV/Stream: SEC Network-Plus


More coverage of Arkansas baseball from BoAS…

Facebook Comments