Hogs Beat the Buzzer on Stovall’s Big Day, Injury Updates + More from Midweek Sweep of SJSU

Peyton Stovall, Arkansas baseball, Arkansas vs San Jose State
photo credit: Craven Whitlow

FAYETTEVILLE — There is no game clock in baseball, but Arkansas beat the buzzer Wednesday afternoon.

Even after moving the game up two hours, the No. 1 Razorbacks put the finishing touches on an 8-2 win over San Jose State just before lightning moved into the area and the skies fully opened at Baum-Walker Stadium.

It went down to the wire, with Roy Jacobson — who’s in charge of event management for baseball — joining Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn in the dugout in the final couple of innings. Mere minutes after the final out was recorded, lightning got within an eight-mile radius and would have prompted a delay.

“We were worried about that lightning delay because we knew it was coming,” Van Horn said. “We had Roy standing in the dugout with us telling us it was getting close and we might have 15-20 minutes. That was a guess.”

Luckily for the Razorbacks, the weather held off just long enough for them to get a full nine innings in against the visiting Spartans. That allowed them to get all five pitchers on the mound that they planned to throw in the game.

Those pitchers continued Arkansas’ dominance in midweek games and helped it stretch its school-record in-season home winning streak to 23 games.

Here are a few quick takeaways from the win…

Stovall Perfect at the Plate

Since rejoining the lineup after missing the first few weeks with a broken foot, Peyton Stovall has done nothing but hit.

That was on display Wednesday, as he went 4 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. One of those RBIs came on a sacrifice fly. It was just the second four-hit performance of the season for the Razorbacks, with the other being a 4-for-5 day by Ben McLaughlin in the series finale against McNeese State.

Stovall has started all 20 games since getting healthy. He’s reached base at least once in every game and hit safely in all but three, going 29 for 77 with 21 RBIs. That gives him a team-high .377 batting average.

More importantly, Arkansas is 19-1 in those games.

“He changes the dynamics of our lineup,” Van Horn said. “You’ve got a left-handed bat. You’ve got some power. You’ve got a guy that can hit for average, run the bases. Can drive runs in. The second, third, fourth time around, kind of a spark plug there. We’re playing well, and he’s really contributed to it.”

Punching Back

The Razorbacks took a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning and appeared to be well on its way to another win, but that changed when Matt Spear — who homered in Tuesday’s game — crushed a 398-foot laser over the right field wall. It was a two-run homer, cutting Arkansas’ lead in half.

Like it has so many times this season, though, the Razorbacks didn’t waste any time responding. In fact, Jack Wagner hit the first first pitch of the next half inning over the fence for his third home run of the season. It was a 413-foot blast that left the bat at 106 mph.

That was just the start of the inning, though, as Arkansas tacked on another three runs via an RBI single by Peyton Stovall, RBI double by Ben McLaughlin and sacrifice fly by Wehiwa Aloy.

“I really liked the way we kind of punched back there when they hit the two-run homer off Coil,” Van Horn said. “All of a sudden it’s 4-2 and all of a sudden it’s tight again. The wind’s blowing out. You never know what can happen.”

Van Horn went out of his way to be complimentary of his offense, but he also acknowledged that it wasn’t as productive as it could have been.

The Razorbacks stranded 11 runners on base

“We did a great job of getting on base,” Van Horn said. “We drove in eight runs, but you take a step back and on a really good day we could have maybe scored 14 of 15 runs, so maybe we’re saving those for the weekend or down the road.

“I do like the way that we fight and get pitch counts up and we take a walk, get hit by a pitch, whatever, but we were a few big hits away from blowing the thing open and we didn’t really do that.”

More Stellar Pitching

One of the main reasons Van Horn was so set on getting Wednesday’s game in was because he had several pitchers he wanted to get on the mound.

That started with left-hander Colin Fisher. The freshman issued three walks and San Jose State forced him to work deep into at bats, leading to an inflated pitch count. It took him 65 pitches to get through three hitless innings in which he racked up three strikeouts.

“He had some borderline pitches that didn’t go his way,” Van Horn said. “Early, it seemed like he got ahead of some guys 0-2, 1-2, and then he didn’t get a pitch. There was a nibble here, a nibble there, next thing you know it’s 3-2. … For the most part, he got them out.”

After a couple of scoreless innings by right-hander Koty Frank, one of Arkansas’ top bullpen arms, the Razorbacks turned things over to some lesser used pitchers.

First up from that group was Jake Faherty, the flame-throwing right-hander who has struggled with command throughout his career.

He needed only 12 pitches to retire the Spartans in order with a pair of strikeouts. Over his last three outings, Faherty has thrown 2 2/3 scoreless innings in which he’s allowed only one walk and no hits with six strikeouts.

“He throws that cutter about 90 mph and they’re thinking it’s a fastball and it just runs away those right-handers,” Van Horn said. “He’s done a really good job. It’s good to see him throw well at least three times in a row now. I think mentally now, he’s ready to go.”

Left-hander Parker Coil entered in the seventh inning and each of his first three pitches were strikes. Two of those, however, were hit hard – first a single by Theo Hardy and then a two-run homer by Matt Spear.

After that, the sophomore seemed to settle in. He ended up retiring six of the next seven Spartans he faced, including a scoreless eighth inning.

“It seemed like the second inning, he threw the ball better,” Van Horn said. “Had a little more velocity on his fastball. Had maybe the sinker working a little bit. He’s hard to hit when he hits his spots.”

Right-hander Cooper Dossett closed it out with a 12-pitch perfect ninth inning.

Arkansas Baseball Injury Updates

One pitcher who didn’t get any work during the two games against San Jose State was right-hander Dylan Carter.

The Bentonville native drew headlines for how quickly he recovered from Tommy John surgery, even appearing in a few games, but it now sounds like he’s experienced a setback.

His last appearance was April 2 against Arkansas State and he’s allowed only one earned run on two hits in 4 1/3 innings across four outings.

“He’s still not 100%, so we’re going to take our time with him, see how it goes,” Van Horn said. “I don’t know if he’ll be on the 27(-man roster) — he’s traveling with us, but I don’t know if he’ll be on the 27 this weekend yet.”

Another pitcher who missed the start of the season because of offseason surgery is freshman Hunter Dietz. The left-hander had a minor procedure on his elbow following fall ball and didn’t make his debut until March 30 against LSU.

The plan was for him to pitch again the following weekend against Ole Miss, but he was left off the 27-man roster. He did get on the mound Tuesday, but left mid-at bat after calling the trainer out to the mound.

Van Horn said Wednesday that his X-ray came back fine, but they were still awaiting results of an MRI he was set to have that night.

“It’s in different spots, though, (so) it’s a mystery right now,” Van Horn said. “We’ve got to figure it out, so that’s why we’re going all-out right now. We’ve got to figure this out as fast as we can.”

Up Next for Arkansas Baseball

The Razorbacks are back to playing a traditional Friday-Saturday-Sunday series this weekend, hitting the road for a three-game set against No. 25 Alabama.

After dropping a midweek game against South Alabama on Tuesday, the Crimson Tide will enter the series riding a four-game losing streak, as they also got swept at Kentucky last weekend. They are 22-11 overall and 4-8 in SEC play.

Despite the two teams typically being on opposite ends of the SEC West standings, Arkansas is just 7-6 against the Crimson Tide since 2019. Interestingly, four of those losses have been by double digits.

Other Arkansas Baseball Tidbits

  • The announced attendance for Game 2 of Arkansas vs San Jose State was 8,617. However, because of the 1 p.m. start, bad weather and the arrival of new basketball coach John Calipari, there were not nearly that many people actually at Baum-Walker Stadium.
  • During the bottom of the sixth inning, John Calipari’s police escort from Drake Field to Arkansas’ campus drove by Baum-Walker Stadium on Razorback Road, prompting a cheer from the sparse crowd at the baseball game.
  • With the win, Arkansas improves to 4-0 all-time against San Jose State. In addition to beating them Tuesday night, the Razorbacks also won a couple games on the Spartans’ home field in 1995.
  • The Razorbacks were actually robbed of a run in the fourth inning when Rowland’s hard ground ball down the left field line deflected off the umpire and went straight to the left fielder. That limited him to a single when he otherwise would have had a double. Peyton Stovall followed with a double into the right field corner, which would have scored Rowland from second, but instead, he made it to third. That’s where he was stranded, as Ben McLaughlin struck out to end the inning.
  • For the second straight game, Will Edmunson got the start in center and actually made a couple of highlight-reel diving catches. “The line drive to center, I got a little nervous on that one,” Van Horn said. “If he doesn’t catch that one, it could go to the wall for maybe a triple, or maybe a home run.
  • Wehiwa Aloy notched a couple of walks and a sacrifice fly, but saw his 14-game hitting streak come to an end because he officially went 0 for 2. His on-base streak was extended to 22 games.
  • It ended up not hurting the Razorbacks, but San Jose State first baseman Zach Griffin put together a tremendous 12-pitch at bat in the second inning that resulted in a two-out walk. He fouled off seven total pitches, including five straight in a full count, before taking ball four.

Arkansas vs San Jose State Highlights (Game 2)

YouTube video

Postgame Interviews

YouTube video
YouTube video

Arkansas vs San Jose State Box Score (Game 2)


More coverage of Arkansas baseball from BoAS…

Facebook Comments