Razorback report: NLR game gives Hogs pair of firsts since ’19

Not only was Arkansas’ game against Central Arkansas on Tuesday its first at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock since 2019, but it was the Razorbacks’ first midweek game away from Fayetteville since their last trip to North Little Rock three years ago.

In 2020, Arkansas had six midweek games scheduled away from Fayetteville, but all of those games — vs. Oklahoma in Oklahoma City; twice at Troy; twice at Michigan State; and against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in North Little Rock — were not played because the season was shut down in March due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Last year the Razorbacks scheduled all of their midweek games at home to limit travel amid the pandemic.

Arkansas was scheduled to play twice away from home during the midweek this year, but the first game — scheduled against Nebraska-Omaha on March 23 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City — was canceled due to weather.

The Razorbacks have one midweek game remaining this season, next Tuesday against Missouri State in Fayetteville.

Pitching impresses again

For the fifth time in 11 games, Arkansas held its opponent to three or fewer hits Tuesday.

UCA had three hits against Razorbacks starter Will McEntire. All three hits came during the fifth and sixth innings.

Arkansas’ bullpen did not allow a hit in four innings of work by Zack Morris, Evan Taylor, Mark Adamiak and Heston Tole. Adamiak walked a batter and did not record an out.

Taylor recorded four outs and Tole recorded three outs without allowing a base runner. Morris allowed a walk and hit a batter during his 1 2/3 innings.

Arkansas also allowed three hits against LSU on April 15 and in the second game of a doubleheader against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on April 12. The Razorbacks held UAPB to one hit in the first game of the doubleheader earlier this month, and Arkansas had a two -hitter against Texas A&M last Friday.

Over the past 11 games, Razorback pitchers have allowed 61 hits — a combined 26 of which came in series finales against LSU and Texas A&M.

No replay available

As has been the case since SEC Network began televising baseball seven years ago, Arkansas played its game in North Little Rock without a TV or online video broadcast.

Games at Dickey-Stephens Park fall under SEC TV guidelines that do not allow a third party to televise the games. Arkansas does not independently produce games in North Little Rock like it does for its on-campus games.

Because there was no video broadcast of the game, there was no replay available in the 10th inning when Dylan Leach was called out at first base. UCA second baseman Tanner Leonard bobbled a grounder off the bat of Leach before throwing to first base. Leach was called out on a close play.

Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn argued the call with first base umpire Augustus Griffin.

“I felt like he was safe,” Van Horn said. “I told him he had one call and he missed it — something like that.”

Hitting struggles continue

In its last four games, Arkansas has failed to score during three innings when runners were at second and third base with less than two outs.

The inability to advance runners in the seventh inning of Game 1 and the eighth inning of Game 3 was crucial in the Razorbacks’ one-run losses to the Aggies. Trailing 11-10, Arkansas had runners at second and third base with no outs during the series finale, but the top three hitters in the Razorbacks’ lineup struck out to strand them.

On Tuesday, Arkansas might have avoided an extra-inning game had it been able to score in a similar situation in the seventh.

Jace Bohrofen reached on an error to lead off the inning and Braydon Webb followed with a single. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Peyton Stovall for the first out of the inning.

Leach did not capitalize on a sacrifice fly opportunity when he popped up at third base, and the inning ended when Robert Moore grounded out at second base.

Van Horn referenced the inability to score in those instances when he was asked about arguing the 10th-inning call at first base.

“We’re frustrated; a little frustration from the game on Sunday where we left the tying and winning run on base with no outs,” Van Horn said. “We had a chance to win that series and then you come in here and get runners at second and third and one out earlier in the game, and we don’t score. Maybe I was just a little fed up with everything.”

Arkansas was 2 for 18 with runners on base and 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position against UCA.

During the series at Texas A&M, the Razorbacks were 11 for 42 with runners on base and 7 for 28 with runners in scoring position, with the majority of the success coming during the high-scoring finale.

NLR scares

Arkansas improved to 10-1 in games played at Dickey-Stephens Park, but the record doesn’t tell the full story of the Razorbacks’ experiences there.

Tuesday’s game was Arkansas’ sixth in North Little Rock that was decided by one run. The Razorbacks have also played a pair of two-run games at the ballpark.

All of the games there have been played in the midweek.

Arkansas has won three one-run games in extra innings in North Little Rock. The Razorbacks beat Louisiana Tech in 10 innings in 2010 and 2012 by scores of 5-4 and 6-5, respectively.

The only loss for Arkansas at the ballpark was 5-4 to Memphis in 2015.

lead-off rotation

At Texas A&M, Van Horn dropped third baseman Cayden Wallace from the leadoff spot and slid him into the No. 3 spot in the batting order behind center fielder Braydon Webb and designated hitter Brady Slavens.

Webb went 1 for 10 during his two games at the top of the order, so Van Horn decided to give Robert Moore a shot at the leadoff role on Tuesday. Moore entered the night batting .232 but he carried a streak of 29 games reaching base safely into the midweek contest.

Wallace slides up into the No. 2 spot behind Moore. Michael Turner beat third against UCA and Slavens hit in the cleanup spot.

Moore became the fifth player to man the leadoff spot for Arkansas this season. Wallace has done so on 28 occasions, with the Razorbacks winning 23 of those games. Peyton Stovall ranks second with 7 games atop the order, followed by Zack Gregory with 3 and Webb with 2.

Moore didn’t waste time extending his on-base streak to 30 games. The second baseman worked an eight-pitch walk against UCA starter Oliver Laufman to start the bottom of the first inning.

The streak dates to the second half of a March 5 doubleheader against Southeastern Louisiana. Entering Tuesday night, Moore had recorded 20 hits and 20 walks in the 29 previous games, but his batting average dropped from .316 to .232 in that span.

Mitchell Gladstone contributed

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