FAYETTEVILLE — The regular-season finale at Baum-Walker Stadium is the rubber match of the Arkansas vs South Carolina series.
First pitch of the Mother’s Day showdown is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT Sunday and, like the first two games, will be available via streaming only on SEC Network-Plus.
It’s a critical game in the SEC race, as the Razorbacks enter the day with a half-game lead over LSU in the SEC West and a one-game lead over Vanderbilt and Florida in the overall standings.
As always, Best of Arkansas Sports is in the building and will provide live, inning-by-inning updates from Game 3 of the Arkansas vs South Carolina series…
LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs South Carolina
He is not starting the game, but Conway native James Hicks is expected to be the first guy out of the bullpen Sunday.
The Razorbacks have tweaked their lineup, swapping Diggs and Bohrofen and then reordering McLaughlin, Cali and Slavens behind them.
T-1st: South Carolina 0, Arkansas 0
Braswell took strike three and Brewer swung through strike three, giving Hollan a pair of strikeouts to start the game. He had Petry down 0-2 and got him to ground out to third. It was a 14-pitch inning.
B-1st: South Carolina 0, Arkansas 0
Josenberger swung at the first pitch of the home half of the first and popped it up in foul territory. The catcher tracked it down and caught it just in front of the Arkansas dugout. Bohrofen got up 3-0, but ended up striking out. Diggs also had a full count and ended up flying out to left. It was a 13-pitch inning for Becker.
T-2nd: South Carolina 0, Arkansas 0
Messina led off the second with a double to the right-center gap and Casas followed with a single that got through the right side. However, Messina had to hold up at third. With runners on the corners, Wimmer popped out to first for the first out of the inning. Then LeCroy lined out back to Hollan, who snagged it and then threw to third to double up the runner for an inning-ending double play. Even with all of that action, it was just a 10-pitch inning for Hollan, who has thrown only 24 pitches through two innings.
B-2nd: South Carolina 0, Arkansas 0
Slavens struck out on three pitches and McLaughlin followed with a soft ground out to first. With two outs, Cali swung at a pitch in his eyes for the third strikeout of the day for Becker, who has retired all six Razorbacks he’s faced on just 24 pitches.
T-3rd: South Carolina 1, Arkansas 0
Tippett gets the scoring started with a leadoff bomb that cleared the bullpen in left. It was a 386-foot home run — just his third long ball of the year. Hollan then walked Stone on five pitches, prompting a visit from Matt Hobbs. Braswell then lined out to right for the first out of the inning.
However, Brewer followed with a perfectly executed push bunt to second, resulting in a single. Petry then looked at strike three – a pitch that just hit the upper inside corner of the zone, according to TrackMan. With two outs, Messina also took strike three. Hollan is up to 46 pitches through three innings.
B-3rd: South Carolina 1, Arkansas 1
Holt became the Hogs’ first base runner with a leadoff single, poking it the other way for his third hit in his last five at bats. Rowland followed with a strikeout, but then Holt stole second during Bolton’s at bat. Bolton then drove him in with a double to right-center. It had an exit velocity of 95 mph, making it one of his hardest-hit balls of the year. That was it, though, as Josenberger grounded out to third and Bohrofen went down swinging. Becker is up to 42 pitches through three innings.
T-4th: South Carolina 1, Arkansas 1
After a couple of shaky innings, Hollan looked dominant again in the fourth. He had strikeouts of Casas and LeCroy sandwiched around a groud out to third by Wimmer. It was an 11-pitch frame, bringing his total to 57.
B-4th: South Carolina 1, Arkansas 1
Diggs tried to check his swing, but ended up hitting a soft dribbler back to the pitcher for an easy out. Slavens then hit a shallow fly ball to right for the second out. The inning ended with a sharp grounder to third by McLaughlin. It was a perfect inning for Becker, but it required 18 pitches, so he’s up to 60 in the game.
T-5th: South Carolina 1, Arkansas 1
Hollan needed only seven pitches to retire the Gamecocks in order in the fifth. He got Tippett and Braswell to ground out to short, sandwiched around a strikeout of Stone. He’s thrown just 64 pitches through five innings.
B-5th: Arkansas 3, South Carolina 1
A 102 mph line drive through the left side resulted in a leadoff single for Cali. Holt followed with a double to right-center. Rowland tried to lay down the squeeze bunt, but it rolled foul. Instead, he singled up the middle to drive in the two runners and give Arkansas a 3-1 lead.
Bolton then hit a slow roller to first and South Carolina got the lead runner, but couldn’t turn two. It worked out okay because Bolton reached on the fielder’s choice and is a better base runner than Rowland. He showed that by quickly swiping second to get into scoring position. However, Josenberger went down swinging and Bohrofen flied out to right, so Bolton was stranded there.
T-6th: Arkansas 3, South Carolina 1
Hollan needed one fewer pitch than the last inning to retire South Carolina in order in the sixth. He got Brewer to fly out to right, struck out Petry and then got a deep fly out to center by Messina. The last of those required a really nice catch by Josenberger, as it would have hit the top of the wall had he not reeled it in. The six-pitch inning brings him to 70 for the game. He’s retired 11 straight – the last nine of which have come on only 24 pitches.
B-6th: Arkansas 4, South Carolina 1
After a pop out to second by Diggs, Slavens ripped a double to right. It had an exit velocity of 103 mph. Becker bounced back to strike out McLaughlin and that’s it for him. The new pitcher for South Carolina is right-hander James Hicks, who is originally from Conway.
His first pitch was lined into right for an RBI single that left the bat at 108 mph. His third pitch was also hit 108 mph, with Holt singling through the left side for a single. The runners were stranded on first and second, though, as Rowland was called out on strike – however, strike three was out of the zone, according to TrackMan.
T-7th: Arkansas 4, South Carolina 1
Casas grounded out to first, Wimmer flied out to shallow center and LeCroy went down swinging. Hollan needed 14 pitches that inning, but he’s now retired 14 straight. He has a career-high in strikeouts (9, so far) and innings (7, so far). He’s up to 84 total pitches.
B-7th: Arkansas 4, South Carolina 1
Bolton made solid contact on the first pitch of the inning, but it was a line drive right to the shortstop. Josenberger then struck out and Bohrofen grounded out to first to end the inning.
T-8th: Arkansas 4, South Carolina 1
Tippett flied out to center to start the inning. Caleb Denny – a former Arkansas transfer – then pinch hit for Stone and grounded out to second. Braswell then grounded out to short to end the inning. It was a 10-pitch inning for Hollan, who has now retired 17 straight and is at 94 total pitches.
B-8th: Arkansas 5, South Carolina 1
Diggs popped out in foul territory, with the shortstop catching it. Slavens then flied out to deep left-center. With two outs, McLaughlin fouled off several pitches before launching a home run to left. It was a 378-foot blast that had a 96 mph exit velocity and 27.9 degree launch angle. Cali followed with a shot down the left field line for a double. It had a 109 mph exit velocity and prompted a mound visit. Hicks responded by getting Holt to ground out to short.
T-9th: Arkansas 5, South Carolina 1
Hollan is back on the mound for the ninth. Brewer grounded out to short. He fell behind 3-0 to Petry, but ended up striking him out. With two outs and in a 2-2 count, Messina poked a single into right. He came up holding his leg, so Will McGillis will pinch run. That ended Hollan’s stretch of 19 straight retired. Casas popped out to short to end what was a tremendous outing by Hollan.
FINAL: Arkansas 5, South Carolina 1
BOX SCORE – Arkansas vs South Carolina
Starting Lineups – Arkansas vs South Carolina
|South Carolina Baseball||Arkansas Baseball|
|1. Michael Braswell – SS||1. Tavian Josenberger – CF|
|2. Dylan Brewer – LF||2. Jace Bohrofen – LF|
|3. Ethan Petry – RF||3. Kendall Diggs – RF|
|4. Cole Messina – C||4. Brady Slavens – 1B|
|5. Gavin Casas – 1B||5. Ben McLaughlin – DH|
|6. Braylen Wimmer – DH||6. Caleb Cali – 3B|
|7. Talmadge LeCroy – 3B||7. Peyton Holt – 2B|
|8. Will Tippett – 2B||8. Parker Rowland – C|
|9. Evan Stone – CF||9. John Bolton – SS|
|Pitching: So. LHP Matthew Becker||Pitching: Jr. LHP Hunter Hollan|
Baseball Schedule This Week
Friday — Arkansas 4, South Carolina 1
Saturday — South Carolina 3, Arkansas 1
Sunday — vs. South Carolina — 2 p.m. (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: 2-1 on the weekend / 36-13 overall, 15-9 in SEC play
Having won three straight SEC series, the Razorbacks will head to Starkville as one of the hottest teams in the country. That will be important because Mississippi State, despite being picked last in the division, should bounce back from last year’s National Championship hangover. All three games will be close, but the Razorbacks will win two of them.
Actual: 3-0 on the weekend / 36-12 overall, 17-7 in SEC play
We correctly predicted Arkansas to win the series at Mississippi State, but didn’t predict the road sweep – which is understandable because it was just the Razorbacks’ second in seven seasons.
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 five major polls. (Collegiate Baseball used to be included, but it was dropped to due severe inconsistencies in its rankings.)
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…
|1. Wake Forest||ACC||+1||125|
|t-6. South Carolina||SEC||-3||99|
|8. Coastal Carolina||Sun Belt||-1||87|
|10. Miami (Fla.)||ACC||—||73|
|11. Campbell||Big South||+1||69.5|
|12. West Virginia||Big 12||+1||68.5|
|13. UConn||Big East||-3||68|
|14. East Carolina||AAC||—||60|
|15. Dallas Baptist||C-USA||-1||45.5|
|19. Oregon State||Pac-12||+1||35.5|
|21. Boston College||ACC||-2||27|
|22. Oklahoma State||Big 12||+3||17|
|23. Maryland||Big Ten||+4||16|
|25. Texas Tech||Big 12||-3||13.5|
MOVED IN: Clemson (t-17), Maryland (23)
MOVED OUT: Oregon (18), Arizona State (21)
- SEC: 7
- ACC: 6
- Big 12: 3
- C-USA: 2
- Pac-12: 2
- AAC: 1
- Big East: 1
- Big South: 1
- Big Ten: 1
- Sun Belt: 1
More coverage of Arkansas baseball from BoAS…