Arkansas baseball outfielder Braydon Webb struggled hitting earlier this season, but continued bouncing back in a big way on Friday night. His go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the eighth powered No. 3 Arkansas (17-3, 4-0 SEC) to a 7-5 win against Mizzou (12-6, 0-4 SEC) at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo.
The Razorbacks extended their winning streak to 12 consecutive games, matching last year’s season-long 12-game win streak. It marks Arkansas’ longest winning streak since the 2010 campaign, when the Hogs won 13 games in a row.
Arkansas also improved to 4-0 in SEC play with Friday night’s win. The Razorbacks have started 4-0 in league play in four of the last five seasons.
Connor Noland started on the mound and turned in five innings of three-run ball. The veteran right-hander struck out nine before handing the game off to the Razorback bullpen with a 5-3 lead.
Arkansas scored in three of the first four innings, including two runs in the fourth on Michael Turner’s two-RBI double to left center. The Razorback catcher finished his night with two hits and three RBI, raising his team-leading batting average to .371 for the season.
Mizzou narrowed its gap with a run in the bottom of the sixth to cut Arkansas’ lead to 5-4 before tying the game at five apiece in the seventh. Tied to start the eighth, Webb stepped up to the plate with one on and nobody out.
The Razorback outfielder slugged a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right center to put Arkansas ahead for good. Webb’s 404-foot bomb was his fourth home run of the season and his third in as many games.
Gifted a two-run lead, true freshman Brady Tygart had no problems securing the win and his third save of the season. The Hernando, Miss., native struck out five in two scoreless innings to close out the Hogs’ 7-5 win.
Four Razorbacks, including Turner, finished the night with multi-hit games. Cayden Wallace racked up three hits, while Jalen Battles and Webb each had two base knocks. (via Razorback Communications)
Arkansas Razorbacks vs Missouri Tigers
Game 2 Time: Saturday, March 26 (2:00 p.m.)
Arkansas: LHP Hagen Smith (4-1, 3.08 ERA)
Missouri: RHP Austin Troesser (3-0, 2.21 ERA)
Watch: SEC Network
Game 2 Prediction:
Sophomore Austin Troesser has been the most consistent starter for Missouri in 2022, evidenced by his 2.21 ERA. However, he has not gone longer than five innings.
Against the Commodores, he only pitched two innings, but did not allow a run. He has allowed one run at most in his past four starts.
Freshman Hagen Smith has gone five innings or more in four of five starts( he only managed 2.1 innings against Stanford). He has also struck out 32 batters over 26.1 innings.
“(Smith is) very confident when he’s on the mound,” Van Horn said. “When he gets the ball, when he’s on the mound, he thinks he’s pretty good because he is. He’s good enough to get through those bad times.
Both teams are 4-1 when these respective starters take the mound, with the Tigers coming off their loss.
Score Prediction: Arkansas wins 4-2
Game 3 Time: Sunday, March 27 (1:00 p.m.)
Arkansas: RHP Jaxon Wiggins (3-0, 3.38 ERA)
Missouri: RHP Austin Marozas (0-0, 5.40 ERA)
Watch: SEC Network+
Game 3 Prediction:
In three starts, junior Austin Marozas has not gone past four innings. He allowed three runs over 3.1 innings last weekend to Vanderbilt but he kept Arizona State at bay in his previous start, allowing one run over four innings.
Sophomore Jaxon Wiggins looked great in his last start, tossing six shutout frames against Kentucky. It was a good bounce back from a rough start against UIC, where he allowed five runs over 3.1 innings.
“What we love about (Wiggins) is he doesn’t lose his stuff,” Van Horn said. “No matter what that scoreboard is telling you, he’s throwing it mid-90’s, maybe a little more when he wants to, even in the sixth, seventh inning.”
The Hogs have won in all five of Wiggins’ starts this year. The Razorbacks are ending weekends well which always builds momentum going forward.
Score Prediction: Arkansas win 8-2
Arkansas vs Missouri Series Prediction
The Razorbacks will continue their 11-game win streak through the weekend with a sweep. Kentucky was a slightly better team and Arkansas was able to control them, so there’s no reason they can’t do the same to Missouri.
All three starters are having good seasons and the bullpen has been good. The 2.95 team EEA has been the key to this win streak and will keep it going.
The offense has been playing well as well and just needs to do enough to capitalize on the great pitching staff.
The Razorbacks should sweep this weekend to push the win streak to 14.
Arkansas vs Missouri Background
Some background info on both teams written before the series:
The Hogs and Tigers are on opposite paths as the Razorbacks are coming off a sweep of the Kentucky Wildcats while the Tigers were just swept by Vanderbilt. Arkansas also finished first in the SEC at 22-8 last season while Missouri was last place at 8-22 in conference.
The Tigers appear to be an improved team in 2022. They have a team batting average of .297 with four starters hitting over .320 and the team averaging nearly eight runs per game. Missouri only has 16 home runs through 17 games so the lineup does not produce a ton of fireworks.
Senior shortstop Josh Day hits .323 with a team-leading five home runs and 13 RBIs. Junior first baseman Torin Montgomery leads the team with both a .364 average and 14 RBIs. Junior center fielder Ty Wilsmeyer is hitting .361 while sophomore outfielder Ross Lovich is hitting .350.
This team excels at getting on base, shown by a .398 on-base percentage. They are not afraid to run either, going 33-36 on stolen base attempts this year.
The Tigers have a team ERA of 4.78 which is higher than the 2.95 ERA the Razorbacks boast. Each weekend starter for the Razorbacks has an ERA under 3.50 while only one pitcher with any start has an ERA that low for Missouri, sophomore Austin Troesser. The Tigers also have 20 errors while Arkansas has committed just nine.
A low scoring game three with Kentucky ended a couple good hitting streaks, as senior outfielder Chris Lanzilli had a streak up to 12 games and freshman first baseman Peyton Stovall had his streak up to 11 games.
Senior outfielder Braydon Webb now has the longest streak at five games, including three home runs, after starting the season 0-23. Sophomore outfielder Jace Bohrofen also had a slow start, going 0-17 but he had six hits in his last 11 at-bats before hurting his shoulder. He should be good to go this weekend.
“Jace is obviously getting close,” head coach Dave Van Horn said in a press conference Wednesday. “Not sure yet if we’re going to put him in the 27-man (roster). Don’t have to make that decision until Friday. I would say he’s probably not going to be on this weekend… but he’s getting better.”