LIVE UPDATES: Alabama Coach Pitches A Most Savage Quote Hagen Smith’s Way

Hagen Smith, Rob Vaughn, Arkansas baseball, Arkansas vs Alabama
photo credit: Baumology / Alabama Athletics

It’s a day later than the last few weeks, but the start of the Arkansas vs Alabama series tonight means it’s officially Hagen Smith Day.

The left-hander will be on the mound for the No. 1 Razorbacks when they take on the Crimson Tide at 6 p.m. CT Friday. Fans who didn’t make the trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala., can watch the game on SEC Network-Plus.

Any time Smith pitches this year is appointment viewing for Arkansas baseball fans, as he’s in the midst of an all-time great season that’s put him in position to be a top-10 pick in this summer’s MLB Draft.

Through eight starts, the Bullard, Texas, native has a 1.76 ERA with 83 strikeouts and only 14 walks in 41 innings this season. He’s holding opponents to a minuscule .144 batting average and leads the country in strikeouts per nine innings at 18.2 — a full strikeout more than Wake Forest’s Chase Burns, who’s second nationally in that category.

Naturally, Alabama baseball coach Rob Vaughn was asked about the challenge of facing Smith earlier this week and gave, umm, quite the savage response.

“If a wolf goes up against a buffalo one-on-one, it’s going to get knocked off its feet and taken care of every single time,” Vaughn said. “If we try to attack Hagen Smith on Friday the way that we have these last four games, it’s not going to go well. He’s going to have some fun with our guys if we do that.

“Collectively, the way wolves hunt is they surround the buffalo, one grabs one leg, one grabs the other, one jumps on his back and finally one guy up and grabs him by the throat and brings him down. That’s how they hunt, that’s how they survive, that’s how they eat. That’s how our offense has to work.”

So yeah. The Crimson Tide’s plan is to attack Smith like a pack of wolves.

Vaughn’s sentiment is understandable, though. Alabama has lost four straight games, including a midweek loss to South Alabama and a sweep at Kentucky last weekend, and the offense has been a major reason why.

The Crimson Tide managed only three total runs across the three games against the Wildcats and scored only four against the Jaguars on Tuesday. As a team, they have more strikeouts (26) than hits (24) over that stretch and have slashed .188/.230/.250.

One thing working in Alabama’s favor, though, is that it has fared better against left-handed pitching this season than most teams. It is hitting .297 against lefties in SEC play, which is third in the conference.


See our Game 1 recap here:

Below are the inning-by-inning updates on how Smith and the rest of the Razorbacks fare in Game 1 of the Arkansas vs Alabama series…

(READ NEXT: Killing time before first pitch? Check out our feature on Will McEntire and why he’s pitching with a purpose in 2024.)

LIVE UPDATES — Arkansas vs Alabama (Game 1)

Pregame Tidbits

Don’t be fooled by Alabama starter Ben Hess’ 6.03 ERA. The junior is much better than that number indicates, as he has 57 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings and opponents are hitting just .210 against him. Listed at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, Hess is a hard-throwing right-hander with a fastball that sits in the mid- to upper-90s who also throws a really good curveball, as well as a change-up and slider.

Hess should also be plenty motivated Friday night because it was against Arkansas last year that he experienced the arm soreness that ultimately ended his season. In that game, which Alabama baseball won 12-1, he allowed only one earned run on two hits and two walks while striking out five in four innings before leaving the game.

T-1st: Arkansas 3, Alabama 0

  • Stovall fell behind early, but battled back to make it full before going down swinging. 1 out.
  • Aloy thought he had a HBP, but it was called a foul ball on the field and stood after a review. Instead, he fouled off several pitches before poking a single into right.
  • McLaughlin followed with a two-run homer to center. It just kept carrying and cleared the wall. That’s his sixth homer of the year.
  • Make it back-to-back jacks for Arkansas, as Sprague-Lott turned on a 3-1 pitch for a solo home run. It got out of the park in a hurry.
  • Diggs went down swinging. 2 outs.
  • White flied out to center to end the inning. Hess threw 32 pitches, as Arkansas did a great job working the count and fouling off pitches.

B-1st: Arkansas 3, Alabama 0

  • Miller flied out to center to start the home half of the first. 1 out.
  • Petrutz couldn’t check his swing and goes down swinging for Smith’s first strikeout of the day. 2 outs.
  • Lebron gave it a ride to left field, but Edmunson caught it just in front of the track to end the inning. It was a 14-pitch inning for Smith.

T-2nd: Arkansas 3, Alabama 0

  • In a full count, Souza drew a leadoff walk for the Razorbacks.
  • Edmunson took a curveball in the zone for strike three. 1 out.
  • Wilmsmeyer chased a pitch for strike three. 2 outs.
  • Stovall struck out on three straight pitches, looking at strike three, to end the inning. Hess is up to 49 pitches through two innings.

B-2nd: Arkansas 3, Alabama 0

  • Hodo hit a line drive to the right side and McLaughlin made a diving grab for the out. 1 out.
  • In a full count, McCants chased a slider out of the zone for a strikeout. 2 outs.
  • Swinney flied out to shallow right to end the inning. That was another 14-pitch inning for Smith, who is at 28 through two innings.

T-3rd: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • Aloy went down swinging to give Hess his third straight strikeout. 1 out.
  • McLaughlin made good contact again, but his line drive was relatively easily caught by the right fielder pretty deep. 2 outs.
  • Hess got ahead 0-1 against Sprague-Lott, but then drilled him in the back for a two-out base runner.
  • Diggs jumped on a first-pitch fastball and hit it into right field for a single. Sprague-Lott went first-to-third on the play.
  • White also jumped on a first-pitch fastball and hit it to right-center for an RBI single. Diggs also went first-to-third.
    • A pitch got away from the catcher and Diggs raced home from third to score. However, Alabama argued that Souza got in the way. After a discussion amongst the umpires, it’s scored as a run-scoring wild pitch.
  • Souza was up 3-0, but eventually struck out to end the inning. Hess is up to 69 pitches through three innings.

B-3rd: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • Sleight flied out to left to start the inning. 1 out.
  • Smith fell behind 3-0, got it back to full and then walked Guscette.
  • Eblin hit a fly ball down the right field line and it was in no-man’s land. Stovall gave it a shot, but didn’t catch it. Thankfully for Arkansas, Guscette had to hold up at first and Stovall was able to throw him out at second. That kept it from being a hit, turning it into a basic 4-6 fielder’s choice.
  • Miller put a good swing on it, but hit it to dead center. Wilmsmeyer was able to run back and catch it on the track to end the inning. Even though he put a runner on, Smith threw just 12 pitches. He’s up to 40.

T-4th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • In an 0-2 count, Edmunson grounded out to short. 1 out.
  • Wilmsmeyer flied out to deep left on the first pitch he saw. 2 outs.
  • Stovall also had a quick at bat, grounding out to second to end the inning. That’s just what Hess needed – a six-pitch frame. He’s at 75 through four innings.

B-4th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • Smith issued a four-pitch walk of Petrutz to start the inning.
  • In an 0-2 count, Lebron hit a line drive to right and Diggs managed to get over to it and make a catch as he fell to the ground. 1 out.
  • Hodo worked the count full, but went down swinging. It’s just the third strikeout of the game for Smith. 2 outs.
  • McCants popped out behind the plate on the first pitch he saw to end the inning. It was still just a 14-pitch inning for Smith, who’s at 54 through four innings.

T-5th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • Aloy fouled off a full-count pitch before drawing a leadoff walk.
  • McLaughlin was first-pitch swinging and flied out to center. 1 out.
  • In yet another full count, Hess’ breaking ball stayed up for ball four, giving Sprague-Lott a walk. That puts runners on first and second and prompts a mound visit for Alabama.
  • Diggs smoked a line drive to first and the first baseman managed to snag it. He nearly doubled up the Razorbacks, but Sprague-Lott barely slid back in ahead of the first baseman diving into the bag. 2 outs.
  • White hit a little dribbler on the infield, but Hess slipped as he tried fielding it. Everyone was safe and it’s ruled an E1. That loads the bases.
  • The Razorbacks burned their second and final challenge on another HBP/no HBP call and lost it. Souza ended up striking out to end the inning and leave the bases loaded. That may be it for Hess, who has now thrown 101 pitches.

B-5th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • In a full count, Swinney struck out swinging. 1 out.
  • Sleight put a good swing on it, but Wilmsmeyer caught it on the warning track in left-center. 2 outs.
  • After falling behind 0-2, Guscette took four straight balls for a two-out walk.
  • Smith struck out Eblin to end the inning. He’s thrown 76 pitches, 22 of which were that inning – easily the most he’s thrown in an inning today.

T-6th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • Right-hander Sam Mitchell is now pitching for Alabama.
  • Edmunson gave it a ride, but his fly ball was caught in deep right. 1 out.
  • Wilmsmeyer hit a grounder to the left side, but the shortstop got to it and made a strong throw to just get the speedster at first. 2 outs.
  • Stovall also hit a deep fly ball to right, but it was caught on the warning track. That was a six-pitch inning by the Tide reliever.

B-6th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • Miller breaks up the no-hitter with a leadoff single into center.
  • Petrutz hit a chopper to second and Stovall got the force at second, but the Hogs weren’t able to turn what would have been a tough double play, so he reached on a fielder’s choice. 1 out.
  • Lebron followed with a single through the left side, putting runners on first and second.
  • Smith fell behind Hodo 3-0, got the count back full and then got him to hit a weak fly ball back to Smith on the mound. He caught it easily, even though an infield fly was called. 2 outs.
  • In a full count, Smith struck out McCants to end the inning. He showed some emotion after getting the swing and miss. That may be it for him, as he’s up to 96 pitches.

T-7th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • Aloy grounded out back to the pitcher to start the seventh. 1 out.
  • McLaughlin drew a four-pitch walk to give the Hogs a one-out base runner.
  • In a full count, Sprague-Lott also drew a walk. He’s reached all four times tonight, with a home run, HBP and two walks.
  • Diggs flied out to center. 2 outs.
  • White took a pitch off the batting helmet for a HBP to load the bases. The trainer and Van Horn came out to check on him, but he seems okay.
  • Given another chance to hit with the bases loaded, Souza swung at the first pitch and flied out to deep right to strand them loaded again.

B-7th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • Will McEntire is now pitching for Arkansas.
    • Smith’s final line: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K, 96 pitches
  • Swinney struck out in a full count. 1 out.
  • Arkansas shifted against Sleight, who hit a pop up to shallow center. It was caught by Sprague-Lott. 2 outs.
  • Guscette fouled off a few two-strike pitches and should have struck out on a check swing, but the first base ump said he didn’t offer. Instead, he struck out in a full count a couple pitches later. That was a 19-pitch inning for McEntire.

T-8th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 0

  • Right-hander Zane Probst is now pitching for Alabama.
  • Edmunson grounded out to third on Probst’s first pitch. 1 out.
  • In a full count, Wilmsmeyer looked at strike three. He thought it was ball four. 2 outs.
  • Stovall grounded out to first to end the inning.

B-8th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 3

  • Eblin leads off the eighth inning with a single up the middle.
  • Miller followed with a single up the middle. McEntire just missed snagging it.
  • Make it three straight hits by the Crimson Tide, as Petrutz notches an RBI single to break up the shutout.
  • Lebron follows with a fourth straight single to almost the exact same spot. It’s another RBI and that’s it for McEntire.
    • Now pitching for Arkansas: left-hander Stone Hewlett.
  • Hewlett promptly fell behind 3-0 against Hodo, battled back to make it full and then walked him to load the bases.
  • McCants hit a fly ball to left that was plenty deep to drive in a run. 1 out. Lebron tagged up to third on the play, too.
    • That’s it for Hewlett, making it his first appearance without a strikeout this season. The new pitcher is freshman right-hander Gabe Gaeckle.
  • In a full count, Swinney swung through a 96 mph fastball for a strikeout. 2 outs.
  • Sleight fouled off several 0-2 pitches before grounding out to second to end the inning.

T-9th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 3

  • In a full count, Aloy took what he thought was ball four, but he was called out on strikes. 1 out.
  • McLaughlin lined out to left. 2 outs.
  • Sprague-Lott poked a single into right to give Arkansas a two-out base runner. He’s reached all five times tonight.
    • Sprague-Lott swiped second and the catcher’s throw went into center, moving him to third on the E2.
  • That’s where he was stranded, as Diggs flied out to center to end the inning.

B-9th: Arkansas 5, Alabama 3

  • Kade Snell pinch hit for Guscette and popped out to third. 1 out.
  • Eblin popped out to second. 2 outs.
  • Miller fouled off a couple of two-strike pitches, narrowly missing a double down the right field line, before lining out to left.

FINAL – Arkansas 5, Alabama 3

Starting Lineups

Alabama BaseballArkansas Baseball
1. Gage Miller – 3B1. Peyton Stovall – 2B
2. Ian Petrutz – LF2. Wehiwa Aloy – SS
3. Justin Lebron – SS3. Ben McLaughlin – 1B
4. Will Hodo – 1B4. Jared Sprague-Lott – 3B
5. TJ McCants – CF5. Kendall Diggs – RF
6. Mason Swinney – DH6. Hudson White – C
7. Evan Sleight – RF7. Nolan Souza – DH
8. Mac Guscette – C8. Will Edmunson – LF
9. Bryce Eblin – 2B9. Ty Wilmsmeyer – CF
Pitching: RHP Ben HessPitching: LHP Hagen Smith

How to Watch Arkansas vs Alabama (Game 1)

Date: Friday, April 12

Location: Sewell-Thomas Stadium (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)

First Pitch: 6 p.m. CT

TV/Stream: SEC Network-Plus


More coverage of Arkansas baseball from BoAS… 

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