FAYETTEVILLE — Having made three of the last four College World Series, Arkansas baseball fans know the route from Fayetteville to Omaha quite well. That trip will be reversed for Tuesday’s midweek showdown.
The Mavericks of Nebraska-Omaha are visiting Baum-Walker Stadium for a single midweek game against the Razorbacks, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. CT Tuesday. The game will be streamed on SEC Network-Plus.
Competing in the Summit League, Omaha has a 7-10 overall record and lost its opening conference series over the weekend by dropping two of three against North Dakota State.
Arkansas will be the second ranked opponent the Mavericks have faced this year. They opened the season with a road series at UCLA and were thoroughly swept by a combined score of 47-2. However, two of Omaha baseball’s wins this year have been midweek upsets over high-major programs.
Thanks to a four-run eighth inning, the Mavericks knocked off Kansas State 7-6 back on Feb. 28. Two weeks later, they scored five unanswered runs to beat Nebraska 10-6.
Mike Boeve is easily Omaha’s best player. The reigning Summit League Player of the Year and a two-time first-team all-conference selection, he is hitting .489/.590/.617 with 11 RBIs in 15 games. His .489 batting average ranks second nationally behind only Dylan Crews, who is now hitting .531 after going 8 for 13 against Arkansas this weekend.
It’s also worth noting that a pair of hot-hitting former teammates will square off in this game, too. Omaha’s Cam Frederick and Arkansas’ Jared Wegner played together at Creighton in 2021. Both of them have put up fantastic offensive numbers this year:
- Frederick: .472/.525/.722, 3 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBIs (36 ABs)
- Wegner: .384/.514/.826, 3 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 38 RBIs (86 ABs)
As always, Best of Arkansas Sports will be at the ballpark and providing live inning-by-inning updates from the Arkansas vs Omaha matchup below…
LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs Omaha
As expected, freshman Ben Bybee will get the start for Arkansas baseball. It will be his fourth start of the year, as he’s emerged as the Razorbacks’ midweek starter. Including two scoreless innings at LSU on Saturday, he’s allowed just one run in 11 1/3 innings over his last four appearances, lowering his ERA to 1.98.
Junior right-hander Charlie Bell, who has been a weekend starter for Omaha baseball this year, is getting the nod for the Mavericks. He lasted just one inning and threw 47 pitches in the rubber match against North Dakota State on Saturday. He posted a decent 3.82 ERA in 70 2/3 innings last year, but has an 8.36 ERA in 14 innings so far this season.
T-1st: Arkansas 0, Omaha 0
Bybee made quick work of the Mavericks in the first inning. Hunt flied out to right on the first pitch, Frederick grounded out on two pitches and then Boeve grounded out to short to end it after only eight total pitches.
B-1st: Arkansas 1, Omaha 0
It took eight pitches, but Bell finally threw a strike. Josenberger walked on four pitches and Diggs ended up lining a single into center in a 3-2 count. Wegner struck out, but the ball got away from the catcher for a passed ball that allowed the runners to move up. That set up a sacrifice fly by Bohrofen. However, that was it, as Stovall lined out to right to strand a runner on first.
T-2nd: Omaha 2, Arkansas 1
The second inning was much more adventurous for Bybee. The first two guys reached when Bales poked a single through the left side and Satisky walked. Lechnir laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. That set up an RBI single by Zipay, who was a late addition to the lineup in place of Devin Hurdle. A second run scored on a wild pitch to put Omaha on top.
After a walk of deMayo, Hobbs paid his pitcher a visit on the mound. That seemed to settle him down because Bybee struck out Kennedy and got Hunt to fly out to center to end the inning.
B-2nd: Arkansas 6, Omaha 2
The new pitcher for Omaha is right-hander Wyatt Sellers and he quickly squandered the lead. Jones was called out on strikes to start the inning, but the next eight Razorbacks reached. Robinett singled on a 106 mph line drive into center and Rowland followed with a pop up to no man’s land that found grass in left.
What followed were four straight walks, the last three of which – by Josenberger, Diggs and Wegner – came with the bases loaded and brought in a run. Ball four to Wegner was on a pitch clock violation. Sellers was replaced by Kai Reum, who promptly plunked Bohrofen for another run. Stovall hit a slow grounder that brought in another run, but led to a force at second. The inning ended the way it started, with Jones looking at strike three.
T-3rd: Arkansas 6, Omaha 3
With Bybee still on the mound, Frederick drew a leadoff walk and Boeve doubled to the wall in right. Bohrofen dove for the ball and wasn’t particularly close to making the play. That made it a sure double and allowed the run to score, giving him an RBI.
That led to a pitching change, with freshman right-hander Gage Wood coming in. Bales hit a grounder down the first base line and Wood fielded it and made the tag. With a runner on third, Satisky and Lechnir struck out to end the inning.
B-3rd: Arkansas 13, Omaha 3
The new pitcher is right-handed Tanner Olmstead. It looked like Robinett started the inning with a ground out, but the pitcher dropped the feed from the first baseman, allowing him to reach on an E1. Rowland followed with a walk. They moved up to second and third on a balk when Olmstead fell off the rubber.
That set the stage for a two-run single by Bolton, whose blooper fell just inside the foul line in right. Josenberger followed with the opposite of a blooper, crushing a two-run homer that landed on the Hunt Center. It was a 405-foot blast that left the bat with a 105 mph exit velocity and 28.4-degree launch angle.
Olmstead did finally get an out by getting Wegner to ground out to third, but it was a slow roller and he nearly beat it out for an infield single. That out was sandwiched between singles by Diggs and Bohrofen, the latter of which led to a pitching change.
The new pitcher for Omaha is left-hander Luke Gainer. A passed ball allowed Diggs to score and moved Bohrofen to second. He then scored on Stovall’s RBI single. Jones followed with a single of his own. Robinett then walked to load the bases and Rowland walked to bring in a run – the fifth bases-loaded free pass of the game for Arkansas. It could have been worse, but Bolton grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
T-4th: Arkansas 13, Omaha 3
Harold Coll has entered the game at shortstop, replacing Bolton. Wood is still on the mound and got Zipay to look at strike three for the first out. He gave up hard contact to deMayo, but his 99 mph line drive was right at Jones at first base. After a two-out walk by Kennedy, Hunt flied out to right to end the inning.
B-4th: Arkansas 16, Omaha 3
The new pitcher for Omaha is right-hander Jackson Gordon. Josenberger led off the inning with a sharp grounder that the first baseman could quiet stab. It results in a single. Mason Neville pinch ran for him and promptly took second on a wild pitch. That set up an RBI single by Diggs.
Wegner followed with a line drive into center, which he crushed 108 mph off the bat, but should have been caught. Instead, the center fielder misplayed it and it sailed over his head. Wegner ended up on third with a stand-up RBI triple. He then scored on a ground out by Bohrofen. Stovall and Jones flied out to right and center, respectively, to end the inning.
T-5th: Arkansas 16, Omaha 3
Arkansas has made several defensive changes. In addition to Neville staying in center, Peyton Holt came in a second, Hunter Grimes came in at left and Hudson Polk came in at catcher. Most notably, though, Ben McLaughlin entered for his first career pitching appearance.
McLaughlin proceeded to strike out Frederick and Boeve and then got Bales to fly out to center, giving him a perfect 1-2-3 frame.
B-5th: Arkansas 16, Omaha 3
Now pitching for Omaha is left-hander Cooper Prosoki. Robinett struck out and Polk popped out to start the fifth, but Coll crushed a line drive that hit the wall on one hop. He hit it 105 mph off the bat for a double. Neville struck out to end the inning.
T-6th: Arkansas 16, Omaha 3
The new pitcher for Arkansas is freshman right-hander Christian Foutch. Satisky grounded out to short and Lechnir popped up to short before an error by Jones at first prevented the 1-2-3 inning. The error didn’t bother Foutch, who induced another ground ball, this time by deMayo and to second. Holt tossed to second for the force, making it a fielder’s choice.
B-6th: Arkansas 16, Omaha 3
Now pitching for Omaha: right-hander Alex Potter. Caleb Cali pinch hit for Diggs and flied out to right. Grimes followed with a walk and went first to third on Bohrofen’s single through the right side. With runners on the corners, Holt grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
T-7th: Arkansas 16, Omaha 3
Now pitching for Arkansas: freshman left-hander Parker Coil. Kennedy flied out to left to start the inning. Pinch hitter Will Reetz went down swinging. With two outs, Frederick was hit by a pitch in an 0-2 count. Boeve followed with a ground ball to second and Holt tagged the runner going to second for the final out.
FINAL: Arkansas 16, Omaha 3 (7 innings)
BOX SCORE – Arkansas vs Omaha
Starting Lineups — Arkansas vs Omaha
|Omaha Baseball||Arkansas Baseball|
|1. Haiden Hunt – CF||1. Tavian Josenberger – CF|
|2. Cam Frederick – 3B||2. Kendall Diggs – DH|
|3. Mike Boeve – DH||3. Jared Wegner – LF|
|4. Brennen Bales – LF||4. Jace Bohrofen – RF|
|5. Eddie Satisky – 1B||5. Peyton Stovall – 2B|
|6. Zach Lechnir – 1B||6. Jayson Jones – 1B|
|7. Henry Zipay – SS||7. Reese Robinett – 3B|
|8. Sid deMayo – C||8. Parker Rowland – C|
|9. Garrett Kennedy – RF||9. John Bolton – SS|
|Pitching: Jr. RHP Charlie Bell||Pitching: Fr. RHP Ben Bybee|
Baseball Schedule This Week
Tuesday — vs Omaha — 6 p.m. CT (SECN+)
Friday — vs Alabama — 6:30 p.m. CT (ESPN2)
Saturday — vs Alabama — 2 p.m. CT (SECN+)
Sunday — vs Alabama — 2 p.m. CT (SEC Network)
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…
|t-2. Wake Forest||ACC||+1||139|
|t-7. South Carolina||SEC||+3||110|
|9. East Carolina||AAC||+2||102|
|13. Oklahoma State||Big 12||+5||66|
|t-14. Campbell||Big South||+7||64|
|t-14. North Carolina||ACC||+3||64|
|16. Boston College||ACC||—||60|
|18. Florida Gulf Coast||ASUN||+5||39|
|t-19. UC-Santa Barbara||Big West||+3||37|
|t-19. Texas Tech||Big 12||-7||37|
|21. Texas||Big 12||N/A||32|
|22. Miami (Fla.)||ACC||-8||28|
|23. Iowa||Big Ten||+2||23|
|24. UConn||Big East||N/A||21|
|25. Ole Miss||SEC||-10||8|
MOVED IN: Texas (21), UConn (24)
DROPPED OUT: Texas A&M (19), Missouri (20)
- SEC: 8
- ACC: 6
- Big 12: 3
- Pac-12: 2
- AAC: 1
- ASUN: 1
- Big East: 1
- Big South: 1
- Big Ten: 1
- Big West: 1
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 / 18-6 overall, 4-2 in SEC play
LSU is the unanimous preseason No. 1 team this season. The Tigers return potential No. 1 overall draft pick Dylan Crews and several other key players, plus added the top transfer portal class in the country, landing guys like Tommy White and Paul Skenes. Needless to say, they are loaded. Plus, even though the Razorbacks have won its last three series against LSU, they have traditionally struggled in the series. Arkansas might steal a game, but the Tigers’ typical voodoo will be too much to overcome in Baton Rouge.
Actual: 1-2 over the weekend / 20-4 overall, 4-2 in SEC play
Well, we nailed it. Arkansas stole the opener with a big 10th inning, but then got swept in Saturday’s doubleheader to lose the series. LSU looked every bit the No. 1 team in the country, with those three guys mentioned above – Crews, White and Skenes – particularly living up to the hype. That makes us 2 for 2 in perfectly predicting SEC series so far, but Arkansas is still two games ahead of our prediction overall because of non-conference play.
More coverage of Arkansas baseball from BoAS…