FAYETTEVILLE — Tony Vitello and Tennessee come to town this weekend, but before it can worry about them, the Arkansas baseball team has a pair of games against another former assistant coach.
Chris Curry, who spent two years on Dave Van Horn’s staff with the Razorbacks, is bringing his Little Rock squad to Baum-Walker Stadium for a two-game midweek beginning Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and it will be streamed on SEC Network-Plus.
The second game is set for 4 p.m. CT Wednesday and will also be on SEC Network-Plus.
Now in his ninth season leading the Trojans, Curry was an assistant at Arkansas from 2009-10, helping the Razorbacks reach the College World Series his first year and Super Regionals his second.
“He coached with us a couple years (and) did a great job,” Van Horn said. “I knew he’d be a really good head coach. He’s proven me right and he’s done a really good job down there in Little Rock.”
Riding a four-game winning streak, Little Rock will come to Fayetteville with a solid 17-11 record that includes a 6-3 mark in the OVC. It is third in the nine-team league and ranked No. 243 in the RPI.
As he typically does, Van Horn said he plans to use the two games as an opportunity to get some of his bench players playing time — and, conversely, give his starters some time off.
He wants to win both games, but said he’s “not going to go crazy trying to win them” because he doesn’t want to hinder his team ahead of this weekend’s top-15 showdown against Tennessee.
That extends to the mound, where right-handers Cody Adcock and Ben Bybee are slated to start, but a bullpen full of lightly used youngsters awaits behind them.
“We’ve got a quick turnaround,” Van Horn said. “We play Tuesday and Wednesday, and bang, you’ve got Thursday and then you play Tennessee on Friday. We have to be smart with our pitching. We’re going to have to have some guys go a little longer that maybe haven’t pitched much and just leave them out there.”
As always, Best of Arkansas Sports will be providing live, inning-by-inning updates from Game 1 of the Arkansas vs Little Rock midweek series below…
LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs Little Rock
Junior right-hander Cody Adcock is getting the nod for Arkansas in Tuesday’s game. He’s had a very up-and-down year and is coming off a tough outing against Ole Miss in which he gave up three runs in one inning. That increased his ERA to 6.66 in 25 2/3 innings.
Little Rock is going with a left-hander, starting junior Chance Vaught. It will be his first start of the year, but he has made eight relief appearances in which he’s struggled mightily. In addition to his 7.53 ERA, he also has a 2.58 WHIP, as opponents are hitting .304 against him and have 20 walks – to only 13 strikeouts – in 14 1/3 innings. He also has seven wild pitches, which is nearly one every two innings.
T-1st: Little Rock 2, Arkansas 0
Seguine started the game with a single to left-center, moved to second on a wild pitch and tagged up to third when Williams flied out to center. A walk to Rhoades put runners on the corners, but Arkansas nearly got out of it with a great play by Holt. The backup second baseman made a diving stop and threw to Coll covering second for a force and Coll fired to first to complete the double play.
However, Little Rock challenged the call and after a replay review, the call at first was overturned, turning it into an RBI fielder’s choice for Baumbach. It was a costly overturn for Adcock, who ended up walking Trevino and giving up an RBI single to Pectol before Bernabe grounded into a fielder’s choice. He threw 26 pitches in the inning.
B-1st: Arkansas 9, Little Rock 2
Josenberger flied out to left to start the inning, but Grimes and Wegner followed with walks. That set up an RBI single by Bohrofen, whose hit had an exit velocity of 103 mph. Wegner took third on the throw home and a wild pitch moved Bohrofen up to second. That set up a two-run single by Cali, giving Arkansas a 3-2 lead. After walking Jones, Vaught is done.
The new pitcher for Little Rock is right-hander Camden Sargent. He promptly walked Coll to load the bases and then Holt drove in two of them with a single up the middle. Polk followed with a grounder that went off the second baseman’s glove, but he was lunging for it and it was 102 mph off the bat, so it’s ruled a single. It drove in another run, giving him his third RBI of the season. Walks to Josenberger and Grimes – the latter of which came with the bases loaded – marked the end of the day for Sargent.
The new pitcher for Little Rock is right-hander Scott McDonough. The first batter he faced is Mason Neville, who pinch hit for Wegner. He drew a walk for his second career RBI. Bohrofen hit a deep fly to center that was caught, but it was a sacrifice fly that made it 9-2. The 50-minute first inning finally ended on a strikeout by Cali.
Arkansas sent 14 batters to the plate and all nine starters scored. They notched four hits and seven walks. Little Rock used three different pitchers.
T-2nd: Arkansas 9, Little Rock 2
Holt nearly made a diving catch to start the second, but the ball came out of his glove as he hit the ground. It was ruled a single for Pickering. Wright followed with a fly out to center and Seguine struck out before Polk threw out Pickering on a delayed steal. That gets Adcock through the second on 47 total pitches.
B-2nd: Arkansas 11, Little Rock 2
Arkansas opened the second inning where it left off in the first – with a four-pitch walk by Jones. Coll followed with a fly out to left before Holt singled through the left side. Polk looked like he might get another RBI, but his line drive to left hung in the air long enough for the left fielder to catch it. He hit it 102 mph off the bat, though.
With two outs, Josenberger delivered a two-run single. He took second on the throw home, but was stranded there when Grimes lined out to right.
T-3rd: Arkansas 11, Little Rock 2
Adcock is still on the mound for Arkansas. He got Williams to fly out to right before giving up back-to-back singles to Rhoades and Baumbach. Trevino followed with a line drive right at Holt, who then threw to second to double up Baumbach and end the inning. Adcock is up to 54 pitches.
B-3rd: Arkansas 15, Little Rock 2
Neville led off the third inning with his second career hit and Bohrofen followed with a line drive that just got over the wall in left for a two-run home run. Cali got a blooper to fall in right for a single and moved to second on a wild pitch, at which point Reese Robinett pinch ran or him. He tagged up to third on Jones’ fly out to center, but then got to jog home on a 416-foot two-run homer by Coll. It cleared the wall in left-center.
Holt popped out in foul territory for the second out, but the inning stayed alive thanks to Polk being hit by a pitch and Josenberger drawing a walk. They were stranded when Grimes lined out to center.
T-4th: Arkansas 15, Little Rock 2
Adcock is still on the mound for Arkansas. Robinett went to first and Jones shifted to third.
Pectol flied out to left, Bernabe drew a one-out walk and then Pickering grounded into a 5-4-3 double play that ended the inning. Adcock is up to 70 pitches.
B-4th: Arkansas 20, Little Rock 2
Neville struck out to start the fourth. Bohrofen battled to a full count before drawing a walk and Robinett followed with a pop out in foul territory. With two outs, though, everything went haywire for Little Rock. Jones walked on four pitches and then Coll hit an RBI single. Holt walked to load the bases and then Polk was hit by a pitch to bring in another run. That prompts yet another pitching change.
Left-hander Lukas Friers is the new pitcher for Little Rock. He faced Kendall Diggs as a pinch hitter for Josenberger to start his outing. He induced an infield popup that should have ended the inning, but Friers and Baumbach ran into each other and the ball fell harmlessly to the ground for an RBI single. Grimes followed with a bases-loaded walk to score a run and then a wild pitch brought in yet another run.
Neville, who struck out to start the inning, looked at strike three to end the inning.
T-5th: Arkansas 20, Little Rock 2
Ben McLaughlin, the converted infielder, is the new pitcher for Arkansas. He walked Trey Hill – a defensive replacement – to start the inning before striking out Aidan Garrett – another defensive replacement. A wild pitch moved Hill to second, but he was stranded there because Williams lined out to right and pinch hitter Luke Dickerson struck out.
B-5th: Arkansas 20, Little Rock 2
With the designated hitter up to lead off the fifth, McLaughlin stayed in the game to hit. He was hit by a pitch. However, Little Rock erased the base runner by getting Robinett to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. Jones then hit a 103 mph line drive right at the second baseman for the final out. It’s the first time Arkansas failed to score.
T-6th: Arkansas 20, Little Rock 5
McLaughlin gave up four straight singles to start the sixth inning. The third was a chopper by Ben Harmon that went over the third baseman for an RBI. Noah Brewer hit the fourth, also for an RBI, and that’s it for McLaughlin.
The new pitcher for Arkansas is freshman left-hander Sean Fitzpatrick. He gave up an RBI single by Jaxson Anderson, but then struck out Hill for the first out of the inning. He also struck out Aidan Garrett and got Williams to ground out back to him for the last two outs.
B-6th: Arkansas 21, Little Rock 5
Coll grounded out to short to start the inning, but then Holt and Polk walked. A single by Diggs loaded the bases for Grimes, who delivered a sacrifice fly. Neville struck out looking to end the inning.
T-7th: Arkansas 21, Little Rock 5
Fitzpatrick issued a leadoff walk to Dickerson and also walked Baumbach. He then struck out pinch hitter Graydon Martin. Harmon flied out to left before Brewer singled to load the bases. That brought up Anderson, who grounded out to second to end the inning.
FINAL: Arkansas 21, Little Rock 5
BOX SCORE – Arkansas vs Little Rock
Starting Lineups — Arkansas vs Little Rock
|Little Rock Baseball||Arkansas Baseball|
|1. Alex Seguine – SS||1. Tavian Josenberger – CF|
|2. Tyler Williams – CF||2. Hunter Grimes – RF|
|3. Ty Rhoades – RF||3. Jared Wegner – LF|
|4. Nico Baumbach – 3B||4. Jace Bohrofen – DH|
|5. Skyler Trevino – 2B||5. Caleb Cali – 3B|
|6. Luke Pectol – LF||6. Jayson Jones – 1B|
|7. Christian Bernabe – 1B||7. Harold Coll – SS|
|8. Andrew Pickering – DH||8. Peyton Holt – 2B|
|9. Jake Wright – C||9. Hudson Polk – C|
|Pitching: Jr. LHP Chance Vaught||Pitching: Jr. RHP Cody Adcock|
Baseball Schedule This Week
Tuesday — vs Little Rock — 6:30 p.m. CT (SECN+)
Wednesday — vs Little Rock — 4 p.m. CT (SECN+)
Friday — vs Tennessee — 7 p.m. CT (SEC Network)
Saturday — vs Tennessee — 6 p.m. CT (SECN+)
Sunday — vs Tennessee — 2 p.m. CT (SECN+)
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: 1-2 over the weekend / 23-9 overall, 7-5 in SEC play
Most attention is on the following weekend, but Week 8 should also be a heated and emotionally charged series. Arkansas and Ole Miss have developed a really good rivalry over the past few years, with numerous matchups in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. That includes the Razorbacks beating the Rebels in the 2019 Fayetteville Super Regional and the result flipping last year at the College World Series, which Ole Miss won for the first time ever. It will come down to the final few innings, but Ole Miss defends its home field and takes the series.
Actual: 2-1 over the weekend / 25-6 overall, 8-4 in SEC play
The series did come down to a rubber match, but Arkansas found a way to win and take the series. That means the Razorbacks are now one game ahead of our conference predictions after we nailed the first three weekends.
Composite College Baseball Top 25
Unlike football and basketball, which have just the AP and Coaches Polls all year (with football adding the CFP rankings late in the season), college baseball has six major polls.
To get a better feel for how teams stack up, BoAS has combined those rankings into a single top 25 by using a points system in which a No. 1 ranking = 25 points, No. 2 = 24 points and all the way to No. 25 = 1 point. We will update this each week throughout the season…
|2. Wake Forest||ACC||139.5|
|5. South Carolina||SEC||125|
|10. East Carolina||AAC||95|
|12. North Carolina||ACC||79|
|14. Campbell||Big South||65|
|15. Boston College||ACC||60|
|16. Oklahoma State||Big 12||54|
|17. Texas||Big 12||48|
|18. Florida Gulf Coast||ASUN||42|
|19. Coastal Carolina||Sun Belt||36|
|20. Texas Tech||Big 12||34|
|t-21. Arizona State||Pac-12||28|
|23. UConn||Big East||21|
|25. Miami (Fla.)||ACC||14|
- SEC: 7
- ACC: 6
- Pac-12: 4
- Big 12: 3
- AAC: 1
- ASUN: 1
- Big East: 1
- Big South: 1
- Sun Belt: 1
More coverage of Arkansas baseball from BoAS…