FAYETTEVILLE — The Razorbacks have quite the uphill battle ahead of them, needing to sweep a pair of Arkansas vs TCU games on Monday to win the Fayetteville Regional and keep their season alive.
Not only must Arkansas win twice without losing, but it must do so against a Horned Frogs team that has already beaten them twice — in the regular season and then again Sunday — by a combined score of 38-11.
The first game is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPNU. If the Razorbacks win that game, they’d force a winner-take-all Game 7 of the Fayetteville Regional at 8 p.m. CT.
History — beyond its two previous losses to TCU — is not on Arkansas’ side. Teams that start a regional 2-0, like the Horned Frogs, have advanced to the super regionals 77.5% of the time over the past five NCAA Tournaments.
However, that number drops to 62.9% when a team other than the host starts 2-0. Non-hosts also have to play the “if necessary” game 60% of the time when starting 2-0, compared to just 28.9% when its the 1 seed that’s undefeated going into the regional final.
As for the Arkansas baseball program, it has come through the loser’s bracket and advanced to the super regional just once in 10 tries since the current format began in 1999. That was in 2004, when it used heroics from Brady Toops and Charley Boyce to knock off Wichita State on its way to the College World Series.
What will make it particularly difficult for Arkansas to be part of the 37.1% of hosts to come through the loser’s bracket and win the Fayetteville Regional is its pitching situation.
“It’s not good,” Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn said with a laugh when asked to assess his pitching options for Monday. “I mean, I don’t even know who we’re going to pitch. Normally I do and I just don’t tell you. I don’t know this time for sure. I don’t know who we’re going to pitch.”
It will almost certainly be an all-hands-on-deck type of day for Arkansas, which must find a way to piece together 18 innings if it hope to even have a chance to avoid the upset loss.
Van Horn said right-hander Brady Tygart, who threw a career-high 99 pitches Sunday night, definitely wouldn’t pitch and that right-hander Will McEntire, whose already pitched twice, would “have to talk us into it” to get back on the mound. He didn’t specifically mention him, but right-hander Austin Ledbetter likely wouldn’t be available either after throwing 87 pitches on Sunday.
Other than them, though, everyone else could be available for varying lengths Monday. That includes left-handed starters Hunter Hollan and Hagen Smith. However, neither is expected to start, Van Horn said.
Smith threw just 42 pitches before getting pulled from the first game Sunday, while Hollan closed out the nightcap on seven pitches after throwing only 49 pitches in a short start Friday afternoon.
Here’s a look at the pitch count situation ahead of the Arkansas vs TCU matchups on Monday:
|Pitcher||Pitches Thrown||Season Stats|
|RHP Will McEntire||139 (82 on Friday, 57 on Sunday)||5.07 ERA in 87 IP|
|RHP Brady Tygart||99 (Sunday)||3.20 ERA in 25 1/3 IP|
|RHP Austin Ledbetter||87 (Sunday)||7.09 ERA in 33 IP|
|LHP Hunter Hollan||56 (49 on Friday, 7 on Sunday)||4.13 ERA in 80 2/3 IP|
|RHP Cody Adcock||50 (Friday)||5.68 ERA in 50 2/3 IP|
|LHP Hagen Smith||42 (Sunday)||3.71 ERA, 68 IP|
|RHP Ben Bybee||27 (Sunday)||7.24 ERA, 27 1/3 IP|
|LHP Zack Morris||25 (Sunday)||7.24 ERA, 32 1/3 IP|
|RHP Gage Wood||0||3.81 ERA, 28 1/3 IP|
|LHP Parker Coil||0||6.55 ERA, 22 IP|
|RHP Christian Foutch||0||7.71 ERA, 11 2/3 IP|
|RHP Ben McLaughlin||0||16.88 ERA, 2 2/3 IP|
As always, Best of Arkansas Sports will be at Baum-Walker Stadium and providing live, inning-by-inning updates from the Arkansas vs TCU game(s) below…
LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs TCU
Pregame Tidbits from Fayetteville Regional
TCU will be the designated “home” team for the first game of the day.
For the second straight day, second baseman Peyton Holt is not in the lineup for Arkansas. He’s dealing with what Dave Van Horn described as back spasms. As was the case against Santa Clara, Caleb Cali is starting at second and Ben McLaughlin is at third.
Right-hander Cody Adcock is getting the nod in the first game of the day. He’s 4-2 with one save and a 5.68 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings.
Not surprisingly, TCU is going with right-hander Cam Brown. He is 3-2 with a 5.25 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 48 innings this season.
T-1st: Arkansas 1, TCU 0
Josenberger opened the game with a six-pitch at bat that ended with him getting plunked. On the first pitch to Bohrofen, Josenberger swiped second. Bohrofen followed with a walk, prompting a meeting on the mound amongst TCU’s infield. When Brown fell behind 2-0 against Wegner, the Horned Frogs sent their pitching coach to the mound and also sent some guys to the bullpen.
The meeting didn’t help, as Brown still walked Wegner to load the bases. That set the stage for McLaughlin’s sacrifice fly to left to start the scoring. It’s Arkansas’ first lead against the Horned Frogs this season. Diggs popped out to third before a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. With two outs, Cali struck out to strand the runners. It was a 28-pitch inning for Brown.
B-1st: Arkansas 1, TCU 0
Nunez worked the count full and drew an eight-pitch walk to start the home half. Bowen followed with what was essentially a swinging bunt. Adcock fielded it and threw to second, where Nunez was called out. The Razorbacks had no chance to turn two, though. Both coaches challenged, with TCU wanting the runner to be safe and Arkansas wanting interference. The review went the Horned Frogs’ way, as Nunez was called safe.
Taylor followed with a lengthy at bat that finally ended with a strikeout. He fouled off three straight 3-2 pitches before striking out on the ninth pitch of the at bat. Fontenelle struck out, as well, but TCU pulled off a double steal on the strikeout pitch. They were stranded on second and third, though, as Richardson grounded out to third.
T-2nd: Arkansas 1, TCU 0
Slavens struck out to start the inning and Rowland followed with a soft grounder back to the pitcher for an easy out. With two outs, Bolton worked the count full and was hit by a pitch. It looked like it grazed his back. Josenberger then walked on four pitches. They were stranded, though, as Bohrofen flied out to shallow center on the first pitch he saw. It was a 19-pitch inning by Brown, who is up to 47 through two innings.
B-2nd: TCU 2, Arkansas 1
Adcock got up 1-2 against Byrne, but gave up a solid single to left-center. He then plunked Silva to once again put TCU’s first two batters on base. Maxwell laid down a bunt to move them over to second and third and that’s it for Adcock. The new pitcher for Arkansas is left-hander Hagen Smith.
Smith promptly gave up a single up the middle to Davis, which drove in two runs. He took second on the throw home. Smith bounced back to strike out Nunez. With two outs, Davis swiped third. He was stranded there, as Bowen looked at strike three.
T-3rd: TCU 2, Arkansas 1
After a ground out to third by Wegner, McLaughlin hit a solid line drive to left-center, but it hung in the air long enough for the center fielder to make a nice diving catch. With two outs, Diggs popped out to third again. It’s the first time Arkansas went down 1-2-3, but the Hogs are still hitless. Brown is at 57 pitches through three innings.
B-3rd: TCU 2, Arkansas 1
Once again up 0-2, Smith ended up striking out Taylor to start the bottom of the third. He also struck out Fontenelle before getting Richardson to fly out to right. Smith is up to 30 pitches in 1 2/3 innings.
T-4th: TCU 2, Arkansas 1
On the first pitch he saw, Cali popped out to third. Slavens followed with a three-pitch strikeout. Rowland then looked at strike three. The Razorbacks are still hitless and Brown is at 66 pitches.
B-4th: TCU 2, Arkansas 1
Byrne crushed a leadoff double off the wall in left, but Smith bounced back by striking out Silva and getting Maxwell to ground out to short. After falling behind 2-0, Arkansas opted to intentionally walk Davis, the 9-hole, to get to the Horned Frogs’ leadoff man. It worked out, as Nunez looked at strike three. Smith has six strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings, but he’s thrown 52 pitches.
T-5th: Arkansas 4, TCU 2
Bolton made solid contact, but it was easily caught by the center fielder in right-center. Josenberger followed with a seven-pitch walk. He swiped second, but then got to jog home when Bohrofen crushed a two-run homer off the batter’s eye. Wegner then crushed one of his own off the Hunter Center. That’s it for Brown.
Now pitching for TCU is left-hander Ben Abeldt. He promptly struck out McLaughlin on three pitches and then got Diggs to ground out to second.
B-5th: Arkansas 4, TCU 3
Bowen hit the first pitch of the home half of the fifth down the left field line for a leadoff double. After getting up 1-2, Smith then walked Taylor, prompting a mound visit by Hobbs. Fontenelle moved the runners to second and third with what was essentially a swinging bunt, as Smith wisely opted for the sure out at first.
Smith got Richardson to ground out to second, but it scored a run to make it 4-3. The other runner was stranded on third when Byrne grounded out to short. Smith is up to 67 pitches today and 109 over the last two days.
T-6th: Arkansas 4, TCU 3
Cali popped out in foul territory, but Slavens followed with a single into center. That snapped an 0-for-18 slump for the senior. TCU had him picked off, but TCU’s throw to second sailed into the outfield, allowing him to slide in safely with a stolen base. Rowland ended up striking out, though. With two outs, Bolton grounded out back to the pitcher, stranding Slavens on second.
B-6th: TCU 6, Arkansas 4
Now pitching for Arkansas: left-hander Zack Morris. His first pitch is hit into right for a leadoff single by Silva. Maxwell moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt, but he was able to jog home when Davis homered to left. That put TCU on top 5-4.
Nunez followed with a walk and then stole second. Bowen hit a chopper to short, but Bolton was able to field it and fire to first, where Slavens made a nice pick for the second out. It looked like Morris would get out of it, as Taylor hit a chopper to second, but Cali couldn’t handle it. The E4 put runners on the corners. Fontenelle immediately made the Razorbacks pay by hitting a first-pitch RBI single.
That’s it for Morris. He turns it over to freshman right-hander Gage Wood, who promptly got out of it by getting Richardson to fly out to right.
T-7th: TCU 6, Arkansas 4
Josenberger made solid contact, but his line drive hung up long enough for the center fielder to make an easy catch. Bohrofen went down swinging. With two outs, Wegner looked at strike three. Abeldt has retired eight of the nine Razorbacks he’s faced.
B-7th: TCU 7, Arkansas 4
Byrne extended the Horned Frogs’ lead with a leadoff homer. Wood bounced back by retiring the next three guys. Silva grounded out to third, pinch hitter Luke Boyers flied out to center and Davis struck out.
T-8th: TCU 7, Arkansas 4
McLaughlin grounded out to start the inning before Diggs drew a walk. However, he was quickly erased when Cali grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
B-8th: TCU 12, Arkansas 4
Nunez flied out to center to start the inning, but Wood gave up a double to the left field corner. A wild pitch moved him to third before Taylor was intentionally walked to set up a double play. However, he quickly stole second without a throw. With runners on second and third, Fontenelle drove them in with a double to the left field corner. That’s it for Wood.
Freshman right-hander Christian Foutch is now pitching for Arkansas. He promptly gave up back-to-back home runs to Richardson and Byrne. The first was a two-run shot. Silva flied out to center and Boyers popped out to short to end the inning.
T-9th: TCU 12, Arkansas 4
Slavens lined out to left in his final at bat in an Arkansas uniform and the fans gave him a well-deserved standing ovation. Peyton Holt pinch hit for Rowland and drew a walk. Bolton grounded out to second, but it moved Holt to second. With two outs, Josenberger grounded out to short.
FINAL: TCU 12, Arkansas 4
BOX SCORE – Arkansas vs TCU
Starting Lineups – Arkansas vs TCU
|TCU Baseball||Arkansas Baseball|
|1. Elijah Nunez – CF||1. Tavian Josenberger – CF|
|2. Karson Bowen – C||2. Jace Bohrofen – RF|
|3. Brayden Taylor – 3B||3. Jared Wegner – LF|
|4. Cole Fontenelle – 1B||4. Ben McLaughlin – 3B|
|5. Tre Richardson – 2B||5. Kendall Diggs – DH|
|6. Kurtis Byrne – DH||6. Caleb Cali – 2B|
|7. Anthony Silva – SS||7. Brady Slavens – 1B|
|8. Logan Maxwell – LF||8. Parker Rowland – C|
|9. Austin Davis – RF||9. John Bolton – SS|
|Pitching: Jr. RHP Cam Brown||Pitching: Jr. RHP Cody Adcock|
How to Watch the Fayetteville Regional
Friday, June 2
Saturday, June 3
Game 3: Santa Clara 9, Arizona 3 – Arizona eliminated
Sunday, June 4
Monday, June 5
Game 6 – Arkansas vs TCU – 2 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
Game 7 – Arkansas vs TCU, if Arkansas wins Game 6 – 8 p.m. CT
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. Collegiate Baseball used to be included, but it was dropped due to severe inconsistencies in its rankings. Perfect Game also didn’t update its poll this week, so only four polls are used in these 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||—||100|
|8. Coastal Carolina||Sun Belt||—||70|
|9. Miami (Fla.)||ACC||—||69|
|11. Campbell||Big South||+4||60|
|12. East Carolina||AAC||—||52|
|13. Oklahoma State||Big 12||+4||48|
|14. Dallas Baptist||C-USA||—||43|
|15. UConn||Big East||-4||41|
|16. Southern Miss||Sun Belt||+8||38|
|17. Oregon State||Pac-12||-1||33|
|t-20. Maryland||Big Ten||+8||18|
|t-20. South Carolina||SEC||+2||18|
|22. West Virginia||Big 12||-4||15|
|23. Indiana State||MVC||+4||13|
|t-24. Texas||Big 12||-4||11|
|t-24. TCU||Big 12||N/A||11|
MOVED IN: Alabama (19), Maryland (t-20), Indiana State (23), TCU (t-24)
MOVED OUT: Auburn (19), Boston College (21), Duke (t-22), Kentucky (25)
- SEC: 7
- ACC: 4
- Big 12: 4
- Pac-12: 2
- Sun Belt: 2
- AAC: 1
- Big East: 1
- Big South: 1
- Big Ten: 1
- C-USA: 1
- MVC: 1
More coverage of Arkansas baseball and the Fayetteville Regional from BoAS…