LIVE UPDATES: Arkansas LHP Hagen Smith Takes Next Step in 2nd Preseason Outing

Hagen Smith, Arkansas baseball
photo credit: Baumology

FAYETTEVILLE — Hagen Smith continues to rack up preseason accolades as the projected ace of Arkansas baseball.

The left-hander has now been tabbed a preseason first-team All-American and the Preseason SEC Pitcher of the Year by multiple outlets, but in the grand scheme of things, those things don’t matter. He still has to go out and back it up on the field.

Last week, Smith made an incredible first impression of 2024 by consistently pumping 98-99 mph gas in the Razorbacks’ first preseason scrimmage of the new year. His fastball was Paul Skenes-like, but it was just one inning of work and 14 pitches.

As we wrote in our scrimmage takeaways, it remains to be seen if Smith can maintain that velocity like Skenes, who would regularly still touch 100 mph in the seventh inning or later for LSU last season.

It’s not the end of the world if he can’t quite replicate that, as he does have a deep arsenal that now includes a splitter, but Smith will get to test it out a little bit more in Friday’s scrimmage. He is scheduled to pitch two innings, which will paint a better picture of the sustainability of his fastball and allow him to work deeper into his repertoire of pitches.

For the second straight week, he’ll be pitching opposite of fellow projected starter Mason Molina, a left-hander who was the ace at Texas Tech last season before becoming one of the best starting pitchers in the transfer portal.

Between the fall and last week’s outing, Molina has been virtually unhittable. According to unofficial stats compiled by the media, he’s allowed only one hit while striking out 18 batters in 10 innings. What he still needs to work on is his control, as he’s also issued eight walks and hit a batter.

First pitch of Friday’s intrasquad scrimmage is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT. Best of Arkansas Sports is once again at Baum-Walker Stadium and will provide inning-by-inning updates below…

LIVE UPDATES – Arkansas Baseball Scrimmage

Pre-Scrimmage Notes

On the Red team, Hudson Polk and Hunter Grimes will split time in right field. On the Gray team, Ben McLaughlin and Jack Wagner will split time at first game.

T-1st: Red 0, Gray 0

Will Edmunson made solid contact on Hagen Smith’s first pitch – a 99 mph fastball – but it was to straight away center and caught in front of the track. He hit it 104 mph off the bat. Lovich followed with a ground out to first before Polk reached via a walk. Helfrick also drew a walk, as Smith has struggled a bit with his command early on. He also mixing in several of his other pitches after relying solely on his fastball and slider last week. Smith went back to the fastball against Rowland, though, and threw a couple of 98 mph fastballs by him to end the inning. He threw 20 pitches, 11 for a strike. By our count, he threw 10 fastballs and mostly sat 99 mph.

B-1st: Gray 1, Red 0

Peyton Stovall opened up the bottom of the first with a ground out against Molina. Hudson White also hit a ground ball, but to the left side. Robinett knocked it down, but didn’t field it cleanly. He recovered in time to throw out White at first. With two outs, Kendall Diggs crushed a line drive to dead center that sliced through the wind for a home run. It left the bat at 105 mph and traveled 410 feet. That’s just the second hit we’ve seen Molina give up in an Arkansas baseball uniform. Aloy followed with a walk – which is what Molina has struggled. A wild pitch moved Aloy to second, but he bounced back by striking out McLaughlin. Molina got him looking in a full count. That ended a 21-pitch first inning for Molina. Neither starter was particularly efficient in the opening frame.

T-2nd: Gray 1, Red 0

After a rough first weekend, Jared Sprague-Lott led off the second inning with a little blooper that just got over the shortstop’s head for a single. Smith bounced back by striking out Souza and then jammed Waid for a lazy pop up to second. Those outs were sandwiched around Sprague-Lott stealing second, sliding in just ahead of a throw from White. Smith went back to the fastball to strike out Robinett, who took a 97 mph pitch that looked like it may have been outside for strike three. That’s likely it for Smith, who finishes with the final line of 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB and 3 K while throwing 36 pitches (22 strikes). His velocity dipped just a hair that inning, as he mostly sat 97 mph.

B-2nd: Gray 4, Red 0

Wagner made solid contact to start the second inning, hitting a line drive with a 96 mph exit velocity, but it hung in the air long enough for Edmunson to track it down in right-center. Molina then walked Holt. A failed pickoff attempt allowed Holt to take second and he never stopped on his way to third because it took the defense some time to track down the ball. That set up an RBI single up the middle for Jones. Despite it being a grounder through the middle, it still had a 96 mph exit velocity. On the next pitch, Jones swiped second without a throw, as Helfrick lost his grip on the ball when he popped up to make the throw. Molina then walked Wilmsmeyer, prompting a mound visit from Helfrick. Stovall’s first hit of the preseason is an RBI single through the right side. Jones scored and Wilmsmeyer went first to third. After White pulled a 104 mph foul ball, Molina’s next pitch got past Helfrick and to the backstop for a run-scoring wild pitch. Molina did eventually bounce back to induce a ground out to third, but that ends his day after 1 2/3 innings. He threw 45 pitches, but only 22 for strikes.

Now pitching for the Red team is right-hander Jake Faherty, the hard-throwing junior. His first pitch to Diggs was a 98 mph strike. He eventually got Diggs to ground out to second. He threw a pair of 98 mph fastballs during that at bat. That strands a runner.

T-3rd: Gray 4, Red 0

Now pitching for the Gray team is right-hander Will McEntire. He starts off be peppering the corner/edge of the strike zone, striking out Grimes to start the inning. Edmunson hit a grounder to short and Aloy made a nice play to get to it, but his throw nearly took McLaughlin off the bag. However, McLaughlin did a really good job of keeping his toe on there for the out. Lovich hit a chopper back to the mound and McEntire knocked it down, calmly jogged to it and tossed to first for the final out. His command that inning was exceptional. Nothing was over the plate.

B-3rd: Gray 4, Red 0

Faherty left a pitch right over the middle of the plate and Aloy ripped it down the line. Robinett likely should have made the play, but barely got his glove on it and didn’t slow it down (it had a 99 mph exit velocity). The ball still made it to the wall in the corner and it’s ruled a double – a friendly, but fair ruling. McLaughlin followed with a walk. With runners on first and second, Wagner hit a fly ball to right-center and the wind really knocked it down. Edmunson had to run in and make a great diving catch for the first out. Nice heads up base running by Aloy there, as he tagged up and made it to third on the play. Faherty then struck out Holt and Jones, freezing the latter of those on a breaking ball that grazed the inside corner at the top of the zone. He mostly sat 97 mph, but did touch 99.

T-4th: Gray 4, Red 0

McEntire is still on the mound for the Gray team. He got Polk to pop up to shallow right, caught by the second baseman. Helfrick battled in the next at bat, but McEntire eventually got him to fly out to left. Rowland hit a slow roller, but Holt charged in and made a strong throw for the final out. Really efficient work by McEntire, whose thrown 19 of his 26 pitches for strikes so far through two innings – something Arkansas baseball fans have come to expect from him.

B-4th: Gray 4, Red 0

Right-hander Koty Frank is now pitching for the Red team. He got Wilmsmeyer to ground out to short to open his outing, but then Stovall singled to left for his first hit of the preseason. White followed with a line out to right. With two outs, Stovall pulled of a delayed steal of second. That’s where he was stranded, though, as Diggs grounded out to first. Nice, quick inning for Frank, who struggled in his outing last week.

T-5th: Red 5, Gray 4

Sprague-Lott started the inning with a grounder to the left side and Holt made a diving attempt at it, but it deflected off his glove. Aloy might have had a play if Holt let it go through, but it wasn’t hit super hard and probably would have been close. Souza followed with the first solid contact against McEntire today, poking a single through the right side with a 97 mph exit velocity. Sprague-Lott went first to third on the play. With runners on the corners, Waid went down swinging, with White hanging on to the foul tip to complete the strikeout. Souza then swiped second. The shutout was ended when Robinett ripped a line drive over a leaping Stovall at second. He hit it so hard (102 mph exit velocity) that it scored only one run. Grimes hit a little dribbler in front of the plate and McEntire charged in, but bobbled it in his effort to go home with the throw for a rare error.

With runners on first and second, Edmunson launched a moonshot to left. The go-ahead three-run dinger traveled 407 feet and had a 103 mph exit velocity. It was another rare mistake by McEntire, as he left it right over the middle of the plate. Lovich then hit a slow grounder to the right side that was another tough defensive play, but McLaughlin did a nice job of getting to the ball and hitting McEntire in stride covering first, just ahead of the runner. McEntire ended the inning by getting Polk to look at strike three. It was right on the edge of the zone, which is what you’d expect from him.

B-5th: Gray 6, Red 5

Frank is still on the mound for the Red team. He had Aloy swinging out of his shoes on his first two pitches, but then threw a pitch right down the middle and Aloy hit it through the left side for a single. Van Horn won’t like that – a hit in an 0-2 count. Frank left another pitch over the plate and McLaughlin hit an absolute moonshot off the Hunt center in right field. Not only did it leave the bat with a 102 mph exit velocity and travel 358 feet, but it had a 33.75-degree launch angle. It felt like it’d never come down. The two-run blast puts the Gray back on top.

Frank bounced back by striking out Wagner. Holt followed with a slow roller to short that Sprague-Lott charged and then fired a strike to first for the out. Jones also grounded out to short, but it was an easier play to end the inning. Nice response from the veteran Frank, who is expected to be a key arm for Arkansas baseball this year.

T-6th: Gray 6, Red 5

Right-hander Gage Wood enters to pitch the top of the sixth. He got Helfrick to ground out to short and Rowland to foul out to third base. With two outs, Sprague-Lott battled – working the count full and fouling off another pitch – before lining out back to the pitcher.

B-6th: Gray 7, Red 5

Wood stayed on the mount to face the Gray team in the bottom of the inning. It didn’t go as well as the top half, as he gave up a leadoff single to Wilmsmeyer, who then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Helfrick. The Gray made the Red team pay for the mistake, as Stovall followed with an RBI double. Wood limited the damage, though, by getting White to ground out to second and Diggs to pop out to the shortstop.

T-7th: Gray 7, Red 5

Wood closed out the Arkansas baseball scrimmage by staying on the mound and pitching a perfect inning. He got Souza to fly out to left on the first pitch and struck out Waid on three pitches. The scrimmage ended with a battle between Wood and Robinett, with Wood winning the eight-pitch battle by striking him out.

Arkansas Baseball Scrimmage Box Score

Starting Lineups for Scrimmage No. 4

1. Will Edmunson – CF1. Peyton Stovall – 2B
2. Ross Lovich – LF2. Hudson White – C
3. Hudson Polk – RF/DH3. Kendall Diggs – RF
4. Ryder Helfrick – C4. Wehiwa Aloy – SS
5. Parker Rowland – DH5. Ben McLaughlin – 1B/DH
6. Jared Sprague-Lott – SS6. Jack Wagner – 1B/DH
7. Nolan Souza – 2B7. Peyton Holt – 3B
8. Ty Waid – 1B8. Jayson Jones – LF
9. Reese Robinett – 3B9. Ty Wilmsmeyer – CF
10. Hunter Grimes – DH/RF
Pitching: LHP Mason MolinaPitching: LHP Hagen Smith

Unofficial Fall/Preseason Stats for Arkansas Baseball


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