Diamond Hogs upset by Alabama in SEC Tournament

Arkansas’ bullpen stifles Alabama, but it was too late as the Diamond Hogs lost to the Tide for the third time in four games.

That was moderately unexpected.

Arkansas baseball, the No. 3-seeded team in the SEC Baseball Tournament, fell to No. 11 Alabama on Wednesday in the second round, 4-3. The Razorbacks are now in the elimination bracket and can’t lose again or they’re gone from Hoover.

Alabama jumped out to a 4-1 lead after four innings, chasing Diamond Hogs starter Will McEntire after just 2 1/3. His bullpen gave up just two hits the rest of the way, but the Arkansas lineup managed just five hits itself for the whole game.

Chris Lanzilli popped a two-run home run in the sixth to pull the Razorbacks within a run. But Jalen Battles was the only player to collect a hit after that point, his single putting him on first base with two outs in the ninth. Jace Bohrofen struck out to end the game.

Arkansas’ opponent the next round is to-be-determined. Rain washed out the entire rest of Wednesday’s four-game schedule. Three second-round games remain, plus, in theory, Thursday’s originally scheduled games. It’s unclear how the league will proceed. Rain is expected all morning Saturday in the greater Birmingham, Alabama, metro area, though it’s supposed to clear by 2 p.m. and remain that way the rest of the weekend.

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Arkansas Baseball: Four Razorbacks grab SEC Awards

Arkansas Baseball was well represented on the all-freshman team, as well as the all-defensive team from the Southeastern Conference

Now that the regular season has concluded, four Razorbacks find themselves listed among the Southeastern Conference’s best.

Arkansas pitchers Hagen Smith and Brady Tygart were named to the Freshman All-SEC team, while Connor Noland and Robert Moore grabbed SEC all-defensive team honors, the league announced Monday.

[autotag]Hagen Smith[/autotag], a freshman from Bullard, Texas, was thrown into the Razorbacks weekend pitching rotation early, starting in 13 of 14 series primarily as the Saturday starter. In 13 starts, Smith struck out 68 batters while holding an ERA of 4.34 in 64.1 innings pitched. In what was his best outing of the season, Smith struck out nine batters while tossing 7.0 innings in a 4-2 win over Southeastern Louisiana on March 5. He matched his longest outing of 7.0 IP against LSU on April 15.

Fellow freshman [autotag]Brady Tygart[/autotag] was a reliable arm for the Arkansas bullpen, being used primarily in a late-inning, closer role. The freshman from Hernando, Miss. recorded eight saves for Arkansas in 2022, striking out 47 batters in 34.0 innings pitched.

[autotag]Connor Noland[/autotag] has stepped up in a huge way for the Razorbacks. With the loss of [autotag]Peyton Pallette[/autotag] due to Tommy John Surgery at the beginning of the calendar year, Noland has become the Friday night starter for Arkansas. Noland, who only made 12 appearances over the last two seasons, has started in 14 games this season with a 5-4 record. Noland has struck out 90 batters while walking just 26.

The primary second baseman for Arkansas, [autotag]Robert Moore[/autotag], has just one error in the field in 204 fielding opportunities, while making 74 putouts. He and shortstop Jalen Battles have combined to become one of the best one-two punches in the SEC when it comes to making plays in the field.

Arkansas Baseball opens their stay at the SEC Tournament on Wednesday morning. While in Hoover, the Razorbacks will look to win a couple of games in an effort to boost their chances of hosting a regional next weekend at Baum-Walker Stadium.

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Arkansas no longer hosting in latest D1Baseball projection

Arkansas Baseball gets one more chance this week at the SEC Tournament to prove that they are worthy of hosting a regional.

The no. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks have one last chance to prove that they are worthy of hosting an NCAA Baseball Regional this week at the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover.

They need to have a successful week in Hoover because according to D1Baseball.com’s latest “Field of 64” projections, the Razorbacks are on the outside looking in when it comes to hosting a regional.

As it stands, Arkansas would travel to Stillwater, Okla. as the no. 2 seed in the Stillwater Regional, hosted by Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are currently projected as the no. 15 overall seed, hosting Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, and Davidson in their regional.

Arkansas dropped their final two SEC series, a home series with Vanderbilt, and most recently a road tilt at Alabama. The Commodores enter the SEC Tournament as a the no. 8 seed while Alabama’s series win over the Razorbacks helped propel them to the no. 11 seed.

Arkansas finished 2nd in the SEC West behind Texas A&M, and will open the SEC Tournament with a bye before facing the winner of the Georgia-Alabama contest on Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. CDT.

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How the series loss to Alabama affects Arkansas in the latest polls

Arkansas Baseball sees its’ lowest rankings of the season following a series loss at Alabama to close the regular season.

The Arkansas Razorbacks have seen their share of struggles over the final two weeks of the regular season, dropping their final two weekend series to Vanderbilt and Alabama respectively.

As the Razorbacks shift their focus to the SEC Baseball Tournament beginning Wednesday, their stock in the latest weekly polls has fallen. In all but one poll, Arkansas is ranked no higher than no. 10 for the first time all season.

Here’s a look at where Arkansas Baseball ranks in the latest national polls:

Three reasons Arkansas will host a Regional and two reasons it won’t

Arkansas baseball is on the bubble. Not for the NCAA Tournament, but for hosting a Fayetteville Regional.

Arkansas baseball, by most normal measures, had a good season in 2022. The Razorbacks finished third in the SEC, narrowly missing a fourth straight SEC West crown. They played almost the entire season ranked inside the Top 10 in the country.

Teams across the country would kill for such a season.

But this is Arkansas baseball. Coach Dave Van Horn and former Patrick Wicklander both made mention that a certain segment of the fan base was being too hard on the Razorbacks. That segment suggested, suggests, the year was a disappointment.

A fresh season, of sorts, begins Wednesday. Arkansas will play the winner of Alabama and Georgia, the No. 11 and No. 6 seeds, in the second round during the double-elimination portion of the league tourney. Alabama took two of three from the Diamond Hogs in the final series of the regular season.

The Razorbacks will make the NCAA Tournament. That much isn’t up for debate, even if the team inexplicably goes 0-2 in Hoover, Alabama, during the week. Measures of success in Fayetteville, however, are, fair or not, measured by what happens after Hoover in this week’s SEC Tournament.

Arkansas is still seeking to host a Regional at Baum-Walker Stadium. Right now, they are on the bubble for such a designation. Hoover could make or break the decision.

Here are three reasons why the Diamond Hogs will play postseason baseball Fayetteville and two reasons why they won’t.

Crash and burn: Arkansas falls to Alabama in finale, gets No. 3 seed for SEC Tourney

Arkansas lost to Alabama on Saturday by 13 runs, their worst defeat of the season.

The Arkansas baseball team will get three days off before the SEC Tournament. After Saturday’s result, they need it.

The Razorbacks played their worst game of the season, falling to Alabama on the road, 18-5. Coach Dave Van Horn’s bunch will play the first game of the second round on Wednesday against the winner of No. 6 Georgia and No. 11 Alabama who play in the first single elimination round on Tuesday.

Arkansas’ pitching simply did not have it. Of the eight pitchers who worked, only two allowed no runs. Alabama tagged starter [autotag]Jaxon Wiggins[/autotag] for five runs and chased him after just 1 1/3 innings. Overall, Hogs pitchers gave up the 18 runs on just 11 hits, but they walked 11 batters, hit three more and threw four wild pitches.

The Crimson Tide had built the lead to 18-3 by the time the fifth inning was over. Alabama second baseman Bryan Eblin led the Tide with five RBI. Leftfielder William Hamiter added four more.

The Diamond Hogs lineup was fair, knocking 11 hits, including home runs from [autotag]Braydon Webb[/autotag] and [autotag]Cayden Wallace[/autotag]. They also drew four base-on-balls.

But the story was pitching. Freshman [autotag]Hagen Smith[/autotag] is expected to start the SEC Tournament game on Wednesday even though he was used out of the bullpen Saturday. He gave up five runs on three hits and two walks. He also struck out the four batters he retired.

Arkansas will make the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight season, not counting the 2020 season that was washed out because of COVID-19. The Razorbacks have failed to make the postseason only once under Van Horn, in 2016. It will be difficult for the team, despite their No. 5 ranking entering the weekend, to get a national seed without winning the SEC Tournament, however, because their RPI sits in the 20s.

Big inning propels Arkansas to Game 1 win over Alabama

Peyton Stovall and Cayden Wallace each homered in Arkansas’ win over the Crimson Tide on the final weekend of the regular season.

Much like they have done for a bulk of the season, Arkansas baseball found a way.

Trailing by three runs midway through the game, the Diamond Hogs scored five in the fifth inning to dispatch Alabama in the first game of the final series of the regular season, 7-3, on the road.

Peyton Stovall hit a two-run home run and Cayden Wallace hit a three-run shot to provide the punch. The rest of the way, Arkansas’ bullpen gave up just two Crimson Tide hits to keep Alabama at bay.

The Razorbacks entered the day tied for second in the SEC with Texas A&M. The two teams held a two-game lead over Auburn and a three-game lead over LSU, Vanderbilt and Georgia. The top four teams in the SEC standings draw byes for next week’s conference tournament.

Will McEntire started his first SEC game of the season as coach Dave Van Horn shook up his weekend rotation. McEntire, who had started midweek games for most of the season, gave up three runs in four innings on eight hits and two walks.

Alabama scored two runs in the second inning and another in the fourth to chase McEntire. Kole Ramage, Evan Taylor and Brady Tygart finished things off for the Razorbacks.

Jalen Battles hit a two-run double in the ninth for a bit of insurance. He finished 2 for 4 with the two RBIs and double and a run.

Game 2 of the series is Friday at 7 p.m.

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Arkansas Baseball: Changes coming to weekend rotation for Alabama series

For the first time all season, Arkansas will shake up the weekend rotation. Expect to see a new face on the mound for Friday’s opener in Tuscaloosa.

For the final weekend of the regular season, head coach Dave Van Horn is shaking up the weekend rotation for the first time all year.

The no. 4 Arkansas Razorbacks have played 13 weekend series in the 2022 season with the same weekend rotation of Connor Noland, Hagen Smith, and Jaxon Wiggins. As the Razorbacks travel to Alabama to face the Crimson Tide, one pitcher will have one extra day of rest while one has been removed from the rotation altogether.

For Thursday’s opener, [autotag]Will McEntire[/autotag] will get his first start in SEC play. McEntire has been used mostly as a midweek starter, going 1-1 with four starts. Recently, he has been used in relief. He made his first appearance in a weekend series in Arkansas’ 7-4 win over Auburn on May 8, and grabbed a three-inning save against Vanderbilt on May 14.

The usual Friday starter, [autotag]Connor Noland[/autotag], will be moved to game two of the series to allow him a full week between starts. Noland has not had the best luck over the last five SEC starts, as he has either taken a loss or left the mound without recording a decision. Head coach [autotag]Dave Van Horn[/autotag] says that Noland is staying positive, but he looks to change his approach in the Alabama series and beyond.

“He feels healthy, no issues there physically,” says Van Horn. “Just pitch to contact more, don’t worry about getting strikeouts. I don’t think that he is, that’s just what we try to tell him, “hey, just let them hit it. We will field it.” Hopefully he will be good this weekend.” 

The only pitcher to remain in his role will be [autotag]Jaxon Wiggins[/autotag], who will close out the series on Saturday afternoon. Wiggins pitched well enough to get the win last Sunday at home against Vanderbilt, striking out eight batters over 4.1 innings of work. But he allowed two earned runs while the Commodores shut down any chance of run support, which set him up for the loss.

Freshman [autotag]Hagan Smith[/autotag] will be out of the rotation this weekend. No reason has been given for Smith’s removal, but according to Whole Hog Sports, it could be because of his struggles working deep into games. Over his last five starts, Smith has only lasted six innings or more twice.

Arkansas begins their week-long stay in Alabama on Thursday night, when they face Alabama at Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. CDT.

Arkansas at Alabama: Game preview, how to stream and listen to Thursday’s game

Arkansas Baseball travels to Alabama in an effort to finish the regular season strong.

The no. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks look to finish the SEC season strong by traveling to Tuscaloosa to open a three-game set with Alabama beginning Thursday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Arkansas lost only their third series of the season last week at home to Vanderbilt in what turned out to be an odd series due to weather. Following Vanderbilt’s 9-6 win over Arkansas in extra innings on Friday, Saturday’s game was postponed in the 6th inning due to rain and lightning, and was forced to continue on Sunday with Arkansas leading 8-6. The Razorbacks, led by a two-run homer by [autotag]Jalen Battles[/autotag], defeated the Commodores, 11-6. Due to more rain in the forecast, and the curfew rule being put into effect, game three was limited to just seven innings, with Vanderbilt taking the game and the series, 5-0.

Weather played a role in Alabama’s most recent series as well, as they dropped two games to Auburn, 3-2 and 6-4 respectively. Sunday’s game saw Auburn and Alabama reach a tie at 1-1 before thunderstorms in the area forced the game to end early, with a “no-contest” being called due to not playing enough innings, plus the game was tied.

The Razorbacks will need to bounce back in a big way in order to claim at least a share of the SEC West title. With the series loss to Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Texas A&M are tied for the top spot in the western division at 17-10 in SEC play. However, the Aggies took two-of-three from Arkansas in College Station last month, which gives them the upper hand over the Razorbacks. Waiting in the wings behind both Texas A&M and Arkansas is Auburn, who is two games behind both squads.

Head coach [autotag]Dave Van Horn[/autotag] says that he has not mentioned what’s at stake with the team, but wants to take a “worry about us” approach to the weekend.

“We just talk about finishing strong and putting together some really good games and putting together a good tournament,” says Van Horn. “It’s tough to be at the top at the end, especially in the western division in my opinion. The teams are really good. We are going to go out there and do the best we can at Alabama and see if we can get part of it at a minimum, maybe the whole thing.”

Want Supers in Fayetteville? Arkansas needs to take series from A&M

Arkansas baseball is still seeking a national seed. A late-season run is required.

Arkansas baseball is, as former pitcher Patrick Wicklander stated, spoiled.

The Diamond Hogs have made the NCAA Tournament every year its been played in the Dave Van Horn era except for one. They’ve made three straight Super Regionals and been to two of the last three College World Series.

That path to Omaha, Nebraska, is a treacherous one made easier depending on the route. Arkansas can get its best possible route if the Regional and Super Regional would be hosted at Baum-Walker Stadium. To make that happen, the Razorbacks need a top-eight national seed. Before the weekend’s series loss to Vanderbilt, D1Baseball.com had Arkansas pegged for one.

It remains to be seen where the projections are now, but as Arkansas was the No. 7 seed in those, it may be borderline. So the question becomes, how to make it happen.

For starters, the Razorbacks need to beat Texas A&M. The series is the regular-season finale in the SEC weekend. It’s in College Station and it’s against a team tied with the Diamond Hogs for second in the league standings. The winner gets the No. 2 seed for the SEC Tournament the following week.

Pollsters still think highly Arkansas. The computers, however, do not. The Diamond Hogs’ RPI is just No. 29. Not exactly indicative of a team likely to make a top-eight seed come NCAA Tournament time. Accordingly, more than Texas A&M is probably required to net the national seed.

A No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament would net a second-round game against either the No. 7 or No. 10 team. But even those spots are up for grabs. LSU, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina are all within two games of each other in spots No. 5-10 with the final weekend to play.

But things start on Friday. A sweep is preferable and then a big run through the SEC Tournament would help, too, especially if the Razorbacks get Tennessee, the No. 1 team in the nation.