Wed April 17, 2024

By Lance Hawley

Arkansas Rallies to Down Tech
By Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE -- No. 2 Arkansas had to rally from a 7-0 deficit, but managed to do just that taking a 9-8 win over Texas Tech Tuesday night at Baum-Walker Stadium before 9,770 fans.

The Hogs trailed 6-0 after two innings and then the Red Raiders added a run in the top of the fourth. But the Hogs answered with one run in the fourth and then a half dozen of their own in the fifth to finally tie the game.

Each team added another run to set up an 8-8 game heading to the bottom of the ninth. Texas Tech brought its sixth pitcher, Parker Hutya, of the night into the game. Jared Sprague-Lott reached on an error to start the bottom of the ninth. Wehiwa Aloy then hit to the pitcher who threw the ball away. Ben McLaughlin was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with no out. Pinch hitter Nolan Souza, batting for Jack Wagner, hit a towering fly ball to right field that allowed Sprague-Lott to score giving the Razorbacks their only lead of the game. Dave Van Horn was pleased to get the tough win.

"Obviously that was a really good win for our team, especially the way it finished up in Tuscaloosa after not swinging the bats at all," Van Horn said. "And then getting down tonight like we did, 6-0. Very rarely does a team get five hits in a row, and they did. I think we got the first out in the second and they got five hits in a row. One of them left the yard. … It was 4-0, you’re thinking, ‘OK, runner at second and third.’ And that wind pushed that ball down on our right fielder.

Down six it was tough, then it was seven, it was 7-1. We kept saying, ‘If we can just punch in three runs somehow …Hit a home run, find a way to get it back to 7-4, put a little pressure on them.’ When Wehiwa dropped that ball down the left field line, we knew the left field was way over in the alley, [we knew] that was going to be trouble. The shortstop almost made that play. And then obviously Ben McLaughlin had a tremendous at-bat. Went to a full count and caught him a fastball and just hit it opposite field with that slicing wind. We knew it was gone when it left the bat. That was just a big swing. There were plenty of those. 

"Just proud of our guys. They rallied and just kept going and found a way to win against a team that can really hit. We’ve got our hands full again tomorrow."

Arkansas' first run came when Sprague-Lott walked to start the fourth. Ben McLaughlin hit a one-out double to get Sprague-Lott to third. Wagner got an infield hit that allowed Sprague-Lott to score.

In the bottom of the fifth, Jayson Jones doubled. Will Edmunson was hit by a pitch. Peyton Holt then singled to plate Jones and move Edmunson to third. Peyton Stovall then walked. Sprague-Lott grounded into a double play. Holt was out, but Stovall advanced to second base. Aloy doubled allowing Stovall to race home from second base. McLaughlin then sent a shot over the fence scoring him and Aloy. Wagner then walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He scored on a Hudson White double.

In the top of the seventh, Austin Green greeted new Arkansas pitcher Will McEntire with a line shot over the fence in right field for an 8-7 Texas Tech lead.

Jones started the bottom of the eighth off with a double. Ty Wilsmeyer pinch ran for him. Wilsmeyer immediately went to third on a wild pitch. Edmunson walked and Holt struck out. Stovall hit into a fielder's choice where the Red Raiders forced Edmunson at second, but it did allow Wilsmeyer to score on the play.

Ben Bybee had a rough start for Arkansas. He allowed six hits, half dozen runs and two strike outs. However, Casey Foutch, Gage Wood, Parker Coil, McEntire and Gabe Gaeckle were good in relief.

"The guys we threw tonight are guys that we weren’t going to throw tomorrow, no matter what," Van Horn said. "Even if we had lost tonight, we were probably going to throw these guys a little bit, because we need some guys for Friday, obviously and Saturday. That’s what I told the team out there. The bullpen was amazing tonight, and they just did a great job, everyone we brought in there. 

"Parker Coil came in and got the two lefties and ended up getting the right-hander. He was good to go, but we’re trying to get him rocking, trying to get him going a little bit and get his confidence up. We thought maybe Will can give us a couple, and if we get the lead, maybe we can go to Gaeckle. Will gave us one-and-a-third, and his pitch count was getting up a little bit, we need to have him available. He didn’t lose his stuff. I mean, the guy jumped his first pitch. He left it in a little bit. Hit it below the wind and got it out of the park."

Gaeckle (2-2) worked 1.2 innings to get the win. He allowed one hit and struck out a hitter, Wood worked 2.1 innings allowing a pair of hits, one run and struck out four. McEntire gave the Hogs 1.1 innning, allowing one hit, a run and struck out three.

Arkansas (31-5, 12-3) and Texas Tech (26-11, 9-9) will meet again Wednesday at 4 p.m. and televised on the SEC Network.

Photos Courtesy of John D. James