FAYETTEVILLE — A sweep is once again on the table at Baum-Walker Stadium, this time in the finale of the Arkansas vs Wright State series.
After comfortably winning the first two games, the Razorbacks will try to make it three for three against the Raiders at 1 p.m. CT Sunday. The game will be streamed online on SEC Network-Plus.
Arkansas had a similar opportunity last week, but squandered a 3-1 lead by allowing 11 unanswered runs and dropping Game 3 against Eastern Illinois.
Left-hander Hunter Hollan will be on the mound, which should give the Razorbacks a certain level of confidence heading into the game because he — along with Friday starter Hagen Smith — has been one of their most consistent arms this year.
The JUCO transfer has a 2.79 ERA in 9 2/3 innings across his first two starts of the season. That includes a 5 2/3-inning outing last Sunday against Eastern Illinois.
“He felt like he didn’t have a great outing last weekend and I know he is ready to go,” Van Horn said. “(It’ll be) a 70-degree day. I think he is really excited to go and we definitely want to see him pitch. Hopefully he’ll have a really good outing and we can get into the game.”
Best of Arkansas Sports is once again at the ballpark and will provide live, inning-by-inning updates from Game 3 of the Arkansas vs Wright State series below…
LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs Wright State
Peyton Stovall and Jared Wegner have homered in three straight games. They will try to put together the fourth and fifth individual four-game homer streaks for the Razorbacks since 2021. Prior to that season, no Arkansas player had accomplished the feat since 2008.
Wright State has announced that junior right-hander Luke Stofel will make his first start of the season. He has a 4.91 ERA, five strikeouts and four walks in 3 2/3 innings across three relief appearances so far this year. Opponents are hitting .294 against him. It’s worth noting that he does have starting experience, making 14 starts over the last two years at Western Kentucky.
The wind is blowing in from right, so it might be tough for the lefties in Arkansas’ lineup – Stovall, Slavens, Bohrofen and Diggs.
T-1st: Wright State 1, Arkansas 0
Despite getting ahead of Justin Riemer 0-2 to start the game, Hollan issued a leadoff walk by throwing four straight balls. He also got ahead 0-2 against Greenwell, but he fouled off a few pitches before ripping a single through the right side. That puts runners on the corners.
Luikart followed with a very shallow fly out to left, so the runners had to stay put. Hollan then got ahead 0-2 against Anglin, but he flied out to left – much deeper, making it a sacrifice fly that gets Wright State on the board. Greenwell stole second with two outs, but he was stranded there because Sass lined out to left.
B-1st: Wright State 1, Arkansas 0
In the home half of the inning, Josenberger went down swinging and then Stovall and Wegner grounded out to second. Even though it was a 1-2-3 inning, the Razorbacks forced Stofel to throw 17 pitches.
T-2nd: Wright State 1, Arkansas 0
Hollan got a quick first out of the second, getting Patrick to pop out on the first pitch of the inning. However, Baker followed with a single down the right field line that was just out of Slavens’ reach. Arnold got ahead 3-1, but ended up looking at strike three. Thomas, the 9-hole, ended the inning with another infield pop up. It was a 15-pitch inning for Hollan, who is at 41 total pitches through two innings.
B-2nd: Wright State 1, Arkansas 0
Slavens leads off the second by smoking a grounder to right-center. It was 105 mph off the bat and resulted in a double – his fifth of the season. The wind is very strong and impacting everything hit in the air today, as seen on the fly out by Bohrofen. It looked like he had a deep fly out, but the wind pushed it in so much that the center fielder had to run in quite a bit to make the grab. Diggs followed with a ground out to second, moving Slavens to third with two outs. He was stranded there, though, because Cali was called out on strikes.
T-3rd: Wright State 1, Arkansas 0
He briefly bobbled a sharp grounder by Riemer, but Cali recovered in time to make the throw to first for the first out. Greenwell followed with a strikeout, Luikart hit a two-out double off the wall in left-center. That was it for Wright State, though, as Anglin flied out to left to end the inning.
B-3rd: Wright State 1, Arkansas 0
Rowland and Bolton grounded out to start the third inning for Arkansas, but Josenberger drew a two-out walk and then swiped second to put a runner in scoring position. However, Stovall struck out to end the inning. The Razorbacks have managed only two base runners, but have gotten Stofel’s pitch count up to 52 through three innings – including 21 pitches that inning.
T-4th: Wright State 1, Arkansas 0
Sass grounded out to third, Patrick lined out to center and Baker struck out swinging for Hollan’s first 1-2-3 inning of the day. It was a nine-pitch inning, bringing him to 67 pitches through four innings.
B-4th: Wright State 1, Arkansas 0
Following a ground out by Wegner, Slavens and Bohrofen went the other way with solid singles through the left side, prompting a quick mound visit. The rally died when Diggs hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
T-5th: Wright State 1, Arkansas 0
Arnold leads off the fifth with a line drive just out of the reach of Bolton, giving him a single. Hollan also gave up a single to Riemer after striking out Thomas, but that was it for Wright State. Greenwell grounded into a fielder’s choice and Luikart flied out to center. His last two innings have been his most efficient, as he needed 10 pitches in the fifth and nine in the fourth. He’s at 77 through five innings.
B-5th: Arkansas 1, Wright State 1
It looked like Cali had grounded out to start the fifth, but the third baseman’s throw sailed over the first baseman’s head. There was a small collision, as Cali appeared to hit Greenwell’s leg as he ran through the base and Greenwell was jumping for the ball. Cali was able to get up and end up at second on the E5. It’s the second time Arkansas’ leadoff man got to second.
This time, Rowland struck out, but Bolton delivered an RBI single to tie it up. Josenberger struck out in the next at bat, but Bolton swiped second on the play. He was stranded there thanks to a ground out by Stovall. Stofel is up to 82 pitches for Wright State.
T-6th: Arkansas 1, Wright State 1
Anglin drew a leadoff walk to start the sixth and the Razorbacks nearly erased the base runner by turning a double play, but they couldn’t quite do it quick enough. Stovall wasn’t appreciative of the way Anglin slid into the bag. Arkansas did erase the base runner during the next at bat, as Rowland threw out Sass – who had reached on the fielder’s choice – on a stolen base attempt. It was a fantastic tag by Stovall. Then Patrick struck out to end the inning.
Hollan is at 90 pitches for the game. Only 32 of those pitches came in the last three innings. He threw 58 in the first three innings.
B-6th: Arkansas 2, Wright State 1
For the second straight inning, an error allowed the leadoff man to reach. This time, the second baseman briefly bobbled a grounder by Wegner and then his throw was wide. The E4 didn’t hurt the Raiders, though, because Slavens grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
However, Bohrofen followed with a 381-foot bomb into the Hog Pen. That gives Arkansas its first lead of the day. Diggs followed with a walk, but Cali struck out to end the inning. Stofel is at 96 pitches.
T-7th: Arkansas 2, Wright State 1
The new pitcher for Arkansas is right-hander Koty Frank. He induced a first-pitch ground out by Baker and then threw a strike to Arnold, but called the trainers out to the mound. He eventually tried a warmup throw, but immediately grabbed at his armpit area in obvious pain. Right-hander Cody Adcock will come in for him. He got back-to-back ground outs to quickly get out of the inning.
B-7th: Arkansas 6, Wright State 1
Wright State makes a pitching change to start the seventh and the first batter right-hander Warren Hartzell faces, Rowland, smacks a home run into the Hog Pen. That gives the Razorbacks an important insurance run. Hartzell walked Bolton and that’s it for him.
The Raiders turn to left-hander Alex Theis, who had been their Game 3 starter, but has a 43.87 ERA and 4.13 WHIP in 2 2/3 innings. Josenberger worked the count full, but eventually struck out. He swung through strike three and stepped in front of the catcher, wiping out what would have been a stolen base by Bolton.
Stovall followed with a grounder up the middle that Wright State managed to stop, but it had no play. It’s an infield single that puts runners on first and second. Wegner delivers with a single through the right side, giving him his 19th RBI of the season. Slavens hit a little dribbler back to the mound and the pitcher bobbled it before getting the out at first.
It essentially served as a swinging bunt, moving the runners to second and third. That set up Bohrofen’s two-run single. Bohrofen took second when the throw went all the way to the plate, avoiding a tag as he slid into the bag. The play was reviewed and stood as called. Diggs drew a walk and that was it for Theis.
The new pitcher is right-hander Chris Gallagher. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, but Cali walked to load the bases anyways. That brought up Rowland, who started the inning with a solo bomb. He grounded into a fielder’s choice to leave the bases loaded.
T-8th: Arkansas 6, Wright State 2
Adcock is back out on the mound. He promptly gives up back-to-back singles to Riemer and Greenwell, each of whom hit the first pitches they saw. Luikart crushed a 3-1 pitch to left (exit velocity of 104 mph), but Wegner was able to catch it. It was plenty deep to be a sacrifice fly, as Riemer scored to make it 6-2. Adcock then plunked Anglin.
In a critical at bat, Sass fouled off several pitches before hitting a grounder to third. Cali couldn’t field it cleanly, though, and the E5 allowed everyone to move up safely, loading the bases. He got redemption on a grounder by Patrick, stepping on third and firing across the diamond to first to complete the double play.
B-8th: Arkansas 6, Wright State 2
After a ground out by Bolton, Josenberger slapped a single through the right side for his first hit of the day and Stovall followed him by hitting a single the other way. The Razorbacks couldn’t capitalize, though, as Wright State ended the threat with a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play. Wegner couldn’t check his swing on strike three and they threw out Josenberger trying to steal third.
T-9th: Arkansas 6, Wright State 2
Baker led off the inning with a solid line drive to left. Adcock bounced back with a strikeout of Boston Smith, a pinch hitter. Thomas nearly reached on a grounder to the hole between second and first, but Stovall got to it and Adcock did a great job of covering the bag. They just barely got the out at first while the runner moved to second. Riemer then flied out to right to end it.
FINAL: Arkansas 6, Wright State 2
BOX SCORE – Arkansas vs Wright State
Starting Lineups — Arkansas vs Wright State
|Wright State Baseball||Arkansas Baseball|
|1. Justin Riemer – SS||1. Tavian Josenberger – CF|
|2. Julian Greenwell – 1B||2. Peyton Stovall – 2B|
|3. Jay Luikart – RF||3. Jared Wegner – LF|
|4. Gehrig Anglin – 2B||4. Brady Slavens – 1B|
|5. Sammy Sass – C||5. Jace Bohrofen – RF|
|6. Andrew Patrick – CF||6. Kendall Diggs – DH|
|7. Drew Baker – DH||7. Caleb Cali – 3B|
|8. Luke Arnold – 3B||8. Parker Rowland – C|
|9. Dane Thomas – LF||9. John Bolton – SS|
|Pitching: Jr. RHP Luke Stofel||Pitching: Jr. LHP Hunter Hollan|
Arkansas Baseball Schedule This Week
Wednesday — Arkansas 10, Illinois State 9 (11 innings)
Friday — Arkansas 12, Wright State 2 (8 innings)
Saturday — Arkansas 12, Wright State 6
Sunday — vs Wright State — 1 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: 1-0 in the midweek / 6-2 on the season
After handing Arkansas its first season-opening loss since 1994 last season, Illinois State returns to Fayetteville for a single midweek matchup in 2023. The Redbirds also gave the Razorbacks a scare in the next two games before struggling to a 20-31 record. They won’t sneak up on Arkansas this year.
Actual: 1-0 in the week / 6-2 on the season
Well, Illinois State dang near snuck up and won, but Arkansas managed to pull out a win in 11 innings despite blowing a two-run lead in the ninth and seeing its star closer leave the game with an injury. But, as they say, a win is a win.
More coverage of Arkansas baseball from BoAS…